Offenses off to slow start at G-Day spring game
ATHENS, Ga. | After the two teams combined for a baseball-like score in the first half, the offenses generated mild enthusiasm as the Black squad defeated the Red squad 18-11 in the annual G-Day spring football game Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
The score was 5-3 at halftime before the Blacks scored the first touchdown. That happened ironically when a defensive player – cornerback Brandon Smith – caught a simple out route from Aaron Murray and tight-roped the sideline 28 yards with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter.
The Red team answered with a 67-yard, 12-play drive capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Carlton Thomas.
But freshman quarterback Christian LeMay led a 75-yard, 10-play drive capped by an easy 12-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman tailback Ken Malcome.
Trotter throws for lone TD in Auburn spring game
AUBURN, Ala. | Auburn's spring game featured plenty of new faces, only one touchdown and a quarterback competition that will apparently continue into fall camp.
The defending national champions' two-hour scrimmage Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium gave a glimpse of just how different the 2011 team will look.
Barrett Trotter threw a touchdown pass on the opening series and was 6-of-12 passing for 120 yards. Clint Moseley completed 9 of 15 passes for 82 yards, and there were no interceptions in the scrimmage.
Coach Gene Chizik says fans shouldn't read too much into how things went since the coaches played it close to the vest. He says he expects Trotter and Moseley to continue battling to replace Cam Newton into August.
The defense-led White team won 63-32 over the Blue in a game when points were awarded for big plays on both sides of the ball.
QB battle remains tight after Bama spring game
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. | Alabama's football team may have been split into Crimson and White sides for the annual spring game, but it was the players in black who received the most attention Saturday.
In addition to the two quarterbacks competing for the starting job, which will continue into the summer and fall, safety Mark Barron had two fumble recoveries including one for 96 yards for a touchdown even though he couldn't hit anyone while recovering from a torn pectoral muscle. All three wore black, non-contact jerseys.
Nevertheless, the Crimson team, which had the first-team offense, pulled out a 14-10 A-Day game victory in front of 92,310 fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium as Alabama concluded spring practice.
“We were really pleased with the overall progress that we made this spring,” coach Nick Saban said. “This team has a little more maturity, maybe not the star players of teams in the past, but a lot of guys have been playing winning football around here.
Although sophomore quarterback A.J. McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims split time with both sides, their numbers were nearly identical.
McCarron completed 21 of 38 passes for 222 yards with one interception and one touchdown, while Sims was 19 of 38 for 229 yards and one interception.
Even though Alabama returns nearly every defensive starter, the first-unit offense was able to accumulate 338 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per play, while the second-teamers had 276 (4.4).
After finishing with 167 total yards (49 rushing, 85 receiving and 33 returning) and scoring a touchdown running back Trent Richardson won the Dixie Howell Memorial Award as game MVP, while Barrett Jones took home the Dwight Stephenson Award for best lineman.
Alabama also unveiled the Saban statue in Walk of Champions plaza, where national championship coaches are honored, and last year's team captains participated in the annual ceremony at Denny Chimes where their names and handprints are set in concrete.
Vols show improvement on the ground in spring game
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. | Derek Dooley doesn't give too much weight to the results of Tennessee's annual Orange and White scrimmage. The Volunteers coach does want his players to pay attention to the way the white team stole a win from the favored orange team though.
The white team, led by reserves Matt Simms and Rajion Neal, won Saturday's spring game 24-7 thanks to tough play at the line of scrimmage, which helped the run game find success.
“I told the team it was a great example that it doesn't matter what kind of game it is, spring game, SEC game, you name it. The team that can win it at the line of scrimmage and run the football will win it,” Dooley said.
The white team controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, opening holes for Neal and Toney Williams while pressuring starting quarterback Tyler Bray, who opened the game 0-for-8.
Despite winds of speeds around 25 mph, Simms hit Neal on a wheel route for a 43-yard touchdown pass early in the game. Simms later ran 2 yards for another score and completed 6 of 13 for 93 yards.
Neal ran 12 times for 60 yards, and Williams gained 53 yards on 10 runs.
Bray found a little rhythm after halftime and found Mychal Rivera wide open on busted coverage by the white team for a 54-yard touchdown pass. Bray finished 5-of-30 for 122 yards, and Tauren Poole ran nine times for 61 yards for the orange team.
QB Brunetti leads Mississippi in spring game
OXFORD, Miss. | Barry Brunetti threw for 211 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions as the Blue and Red teams finished in a 17-17 tie at the Mississippi Grove Bowl spring game Saturday.
Brunetti, a sophomore transfer from West Virginia, completed 12 of 21 passes and is one of three quarterbacks in competition for the starting job. Junior Randall Mackey completed 9 of 18 passes for 151 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Coach Houston Nutt said the third quarterback, junior Zack Stoudt, didn't play because of an academic issue.
Junior Devin Thomas rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Redshirt freshman Vincent Sanders caught four passes for 96 yards.
Sophomore safety Brishen Matthews led the Rebels with eight tackles.