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August 18, 2012

Tide wraps up final fall scrimmage

TUSCALOOSA | The succession of scheduled speakers who have ventured through the University of Alabama football complex completed with some words from a Navy Seal Friday night, who spoke to players about adapting to conditions while maintaining their best efforts.

Fitting, because Mother Nature had a curve ball for UA's second and final scrimmage of fall camp Saturday. Heavy rains forced a break in the action, and UA coach Nick Saban said players adapted to the weather quite the way he would have wanted.

"We may have to play a game in the rain. When that started to happen, we lost a little bit of our intensity, we lost a little bit of our enthusiasm," Saban said. "Even though we handled the ball well and still were able to snap it and throw it. So I was pleased with that part of it. ... So that was really, maybe not exactly what we ordered for the scrimmage, but there's some great lessons to be learned in terms of the situation that we're in and how we respond to it"

Saban said he was pleased with the perfornance of the first offense and the first defense, but has concerns about the development of the team's depth, noting more young players need to begin playing "winning football."

Quarterback AJ McCarron completed 12 of 23 passes for 242 yards, a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. Saban said McCarron handled the weather conditions well. Freshman running back T.J. Yeldon rushed 16 times for 60 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Kevin Norwood caught three passes for 76 yards and two scores. Redshirt freshman Marvin Shinn was credited with two catches for 85 yards and a score.

Defensively, junior linebacker C.J. Mosley made six tackles with a sack, and returned an interception for a score. Xzavier Dickson and Damion Square were also credited with sacks.

Another area of the team that handled the weather well, Saban said, was special teams.

"We did not have a single play on special teams that was affected by the conditions. Bad snap, dropped snap, we were able to kick field goals and do all the things we needed to do in game situations," Saban said. "I was pleased with the work we got done on special teams today."

Backup quarterbacks struggle
Although he didn't single one out, Saban indicated UA's backup quarterbacks -- Phillip Ely, Alec Morris and Blake Sims -- made some poor decisions as a group.

"They obviously have a ways to go. They do some good things. They made some good plays, but ... we had several interceptions today that, a couple of them were ill-advised throws," Saban said. "Especially in situations we were in at the time they got thrown. I think that's going to be what they have to learn."

None of the options behind returning starter AJ McCarron have taken a snap at quarterback in a college game yet. Ely is a redshirt freshman, while Sims is a third-year sophomore and Morris is a true freshman.

Minor injuries
Freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper, reserve offensive lineman Ryan Kelly and running back Eddie Lacy are dealing with minor injuries and will be evaluated day-to-day for practice next week. Saban indicated Kelly could be ready to practice early in the week, while Lacy may need "five or six days."

Cooper's foot inury came earlier in the week, while Lacy and Kelly were injured during the scrimmage.

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

CLICK HERE for complete scrimmage statistics.

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