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April 14, 2012

NOTEBOOK: Wilson wins quarterback challenge

TUSCALOOSA | Six former University of Alabama quarterbacks participated in a throwing skills challenge at halftime of A-Day. John Parker Wilson won the competition, which consisted of hitting stationary and moving targets. Wilson consistently hit the moving target - a golf cart with Big Al on top - which was approximately 35 yards away and moved laterally across the field.

Wilson beat last year's winner Andrew Zow, Brodie Croyle, Stedman Shealy, Scott Hunter and Alan Gray.

Earlier in the day, Jeremiah Castille won the skill-position skills challenge, competing against the likes of Antonio Langham and Matt Caddell. The challenge consisted of a timed running drill and catching a punt.

"It was reminiscent of old days," Castille said. "The fans, the cheering, catching punts, back pedaling, turning and going, it was fun."

Castille credited his conditioning with his win over the young guns.

"I work out. I coached my boys, and I think the best way to coach is by example."

Former offensive lineman Chris Vagotis (1963-66) won the lineman skills challenge.


Sims a surprise player

After a sore shoulder limited him in two previous spring scrimmages, few expected quarterback Phillip Sims to make much of an appearance on A-Day.

He not only appeared, he excelled.

Sims completed 9 of 12 passes for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help lead the White squad to a 24-15 victory. Sims connected with Chris Black and T.J. Yeldon on touchdown throws of 44 and 50 yards, respectively, in the third quarter.

"I think Phillip did a good job, but Phillip's not 100 percent. He's got a strained muscle in his shoulder," UA coach Nick Saban said. "It's limited his practice time, it's limited his scrimmage time. I thought he looked a little rusty in the beginning, but he definitely played better in the third quarter and made some big plays. That's good. We're hoping he'll be able to heal up now."

Sims will be a third-year sophomore this fall. Redshirt freshman Phillip Ely spelled Sims and completed 10 of 18 passes for 83 yards.


Spring awards

A look at the spring practice awards distributed by Saban after the game:

Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award (C.J. Mosley, Chance Warmack); Jerry Duncan "I Like to Practice" Award (DJ Fluker, Michael Williams, Nico Johnson, John Fulton); Billy Neighbors Defensive Lineman Award (Jesse Williams); Paul Crane Offensive Lineman Award (Anthony Steen); Bobby Johns Defensive Back Award (Dee Milliner); Johnny Musso Offensive Back Award (Jalston Fowler); Ray Perkins Receiver Award (Kevin Norwood); Woodrow Lowe Linebacker Award (Adrian Hubbard); Derrick Thomas Community Service Award (Carson Tinker, Quinton Dial); Bear Bryant Outstanding Non-Scholarship Award (Jeremy Shelley, Kelly Johnson); Ozzie Newsome Most Improved Freshman Award (Brent Calloway, Christion Jones, Jeoffrey Pagan, Trey DePriest, Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix); Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award (Vinnie Sunseri, Brian Vogler, Ed Stinson, Cody Mandell); Mal Moore Leadership Award (Damion Square, AJ McCarron); Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award (Barrett Jones, Robert Lester); Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the A-Day Game Award (Hubbard);

Dixie Howell Memorial Most Valuable Player of the A-Day Game Award (T.J. Yeldon).



"He's played really well all spring. Him and Amari Cooper have probably been the two freshmen who have shown they sort of have the ability, and can make plays, and could be contributors. But again, it's their maturity and how they can manage the role they're in. T.J. did a good job in all the scrimmages. He was the difference in the game for his team." - Saban on A-Day MVP and freshman running back T.J. Yeldon



Mandell punted for both squads on A-Day and was impressive, to say the least. The third-year starter delivered a 45.5-yard average on eight punts for the White team, with a long of 60, and a 42.8 average with a long of 66 for the Crimson team. ... Linebacker Mosley led all tacklers with 10, including a first-quarter safety with an end-zone tackle of Yeldon that opened a 2-0 lead for the Crimson team. Mosley finished with seven solo stops and two tackles for loss. ... Kicker Cade Foster was true on his only field goal attempt of the day, a 48-yarder that put the White team ahead 3-2 in the first half. ... As 2011 permanent team captains, former Alabama stars Mark Barron, Dont'a Hightower and Trent Richardson had their hands and cleats placed in wet cement near Denny Chimes shortly before the game in the Walk of Fame ceremony.

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com. Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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