Guillon was the stand-in who had his chance to have a Broadway ending a couple of years ago. Brodie Croyle was lost for the season with a knee injury and Guillon was next in line as the Alabama quarterback. But Guillon started two games, both losses, and then was out himself the rest of the year, the victim of a back injury. He was back in the pack last season and entered spring practice as an upcoming senior chasing an upcoming sophomore, John Parker Wilson, in the quarterback race.
Following Thursday’s full gear work, Crimson Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said, “Practice went pretty well today. Marc Guillon had a good day except right at the end where he made a bad decision, threw an interception, but other than that he had a really good day. Unfortunately that’s the nature of the position, you can’t throw interceptions because that’s all people remember and they affect the outcome of the game.”
The Tide coach said Guillon “has to practice every day like he did today…except not throw the interception.”
One reason Guillon may have had a good day was that the offensive line and receivers had a good day. Shula said, “The offensive line protected really well. I thought both receivers, Keith Brown and D.J. Hall, had a good day. And Charles Hoke did a nice job at the tight end spot.”
Shula also had praise for some defensive backs. He said cornerbacks Simeon Castille and Chris Rogers had done well, as had safety Marcus Carter. “Chris Rogers did some nice things,” the coach said. “He’s getting a few more reps in team work since we’re holding Ramzee Robinson out of the team work because of his (Robinson’s) back. I thought Marcus Carter had the best day since he’s been here.”
Shula said that the three men getting the work at halfback are doing well. “Jimmy Johns has had a good spring,” he said. “Roy Upchurch has had two good practices. He had a couple of big runs that stood out. Ali Sharrief is doing well, too.”
Upchurch was held out last year after undergoing foot surgery. Shula said, “The doctors are thrilled with the way his rehabilitation has gone. They thought he wouldn’t be ready until the middle of spring or later.”
There were a couple of new injuries Thursday. Shula said that new wide receiver Nikita Stover suffered a strained groin and that strongside linebacker Terrence Jones suffered a “stinger” and missed the last part of practice.
Alabama has seven positions to fill on defense where players graduated. Two of the most important are middle linebacker and strong safety.
Jeffrey Dukes has been getting rave reviews for his work at strong safety. Shula said, “He’s getting better with reps and experience. The biggest thing in the secondary is we had such good leadership back there with (departed seniors) Roman Harper, Charlie Peprah, and Anthony Madison. Roman handled the communication back there real well and we’ve got to do a better job of that.”
Last year Matt Collins, a walk-on from Pinson, was a surprising back-up to Freddie Roach at middle linebacker. This year he’s fighting to be the surprise starter. “His strength is against the run,” Shula said. “He’s gotten a lot better on pass defense. That’s where he’s got to improve. He is tough and hard-nosed. He and Prince Hall (redshirt freshman) are the ones we are watching there.”
The practice was Alabama’s fourth of an allotted 15. The Tide will work again Friday and Saturday this week. The first public display of the spring will be a scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium a week from Saturday on March 11. Spring training concludes with the A-Day Game at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the stadium.