“We had a good practice today. We did a lot more 7-on-7 and Brodie got more work. He looked sharp and he’s throwing the ball well,” Shula said following Thursday’s practice. “We’re just getting ourselves ready for Saturday. I think everyone out here has gotten better as a player, as a team. Hopefully we will see some of that Saturday with a few more people in the stands and having guys step up and think a little more without the coaches yelling at them and then we’ll come out of it healthy and nobody gets hurt and go from there.”
A few injured Tide players will be game-time decisions. Freddie Roach (groin) practiced on Thursday but will be evaluated again Saturday. Shula said, “There is no sense if he’s not feeling good to get him out there.”
B.J. Stabler (knee) Eric Gray (Hamstring) and Nick Walker (knee bruise) are also questionable for the scrimmage, although Walker was able to participate in Thursday’s practice. Jamie Christianson (groin) did not practice Thursday and is a likely scratch for A-Day as well.
One improvement from last year’s A-Day is that there will be two quarterbacks available. John Parker Wilson will take the repetitions with the first string offense while Marc Guillon will lead the second unit.
Shula said Wilson, “has a much greater feel for the offense. He gets the ball out a little faster, although he still has a lot of work to do. He has more confidence on what we have asked him to do. His timing has gotten better, but he still has a long way to go.”
Guillon was the only healthy scholarship QB a year ago and took virtually all the snaps in the game. Guillon’s back, injured much of 2004, has held up well since keeping him out of some drills in the first week of practice. Guillon missed Thursday’s practice for a math test, Shula said.
The A-Day scrimmage will be first-team offense against first-team defense and reserves against reserves. Punts in the game will be simulated 35 yards, but extra points and field goals will be live. There will be no kickoffs in the scrimmage, either.
As for expectations for Saturday, Shula said, “I want all three phases (offense, defense, special teams) to do well. What makes you happy as a head coach in an intra-squad game? A little bit of scoring, a little bit of defense. We want our defense to step up and play the kind of defense that we think we can play. We want our offense to move the ball and make first downs. It’s their job to get the ball in the end zone.
“Regardless of the result, it is more so how we are playing as a team. Are we getting to the football defensively? Are we executing offensively on our assignments? Mentally, are we not making mistakes, making good adjustments, and things like that?