First scrimmage of spring in the books for Crimson Tide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team held its first scrimmage of the spring on Friday afternoon inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The scrimmage lasted roughly 120 plays and was just over two hours under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s.

"I think it was obvious that the guys that have knowledge and experience played fast, played well and made a lot of plays," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said following Friday's scrimmage. "Some of the guys that are learning what to do, how to do it and why it's important to do it that way, didn't play quite as fast. But this was a good starting point. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn for each one of these guys. "

Returning starter Greg McElroy had a solid day under center, completing 14-of-22 passes for a team-high 235 yards and one touchdown. Redshirt freshman A.J. McCarron also looked sharp, connecting on 21-of-28 passes for 229 yards and three scores.

Junior wide receiver Julio Jones was the biggest beneficiary, hauling in eight receptions for 105 yards, including a long of 34 yards from McElroy. Redshirt freshman Kenny Bell caught four passes for 62 yards while Marquis Maze made three grabs for 56 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown reception from McElroy. Redshirt freshman Kevin Norwood also turned in a good day with three catches for 46 yards and one score.

"There were times when both first units really looked good, in terms of what they did and how they moved the ball. Both running backs did a good job. Trent (Richardson) had a little better stats, but Mark (Ingram) did a really good job. Julio (Jones) had eight catches and Kenny Bell made a couple of big catches. I thought both quarterbacks statistically did a pretty good job. Both (quarterbacks) had reps with the first team."

Junior defensive end Marcell Dareus picked up right where he left off in the BCS National Championship Game with a team-high eight tackles and four sacks Friday afternoon. Chavis Williams added two sacks and three tackles with cornerback B.J. Scott making six tackles and breaking up two passes while Mark Barron registered five total tackles.

"I was pleased with the way the first defense played," Saban said. "We don't have the same kind of depth, and we have to get more players playing consistently on the defensive field after that first group. Marcell Dareus had a really good day; I think he had four sacks and maybe eight tackles."

True freshman place-kicker Cade Foster was 2 for 4 on field goal attempts. He hit from 42 yards on his first try and then booted a 38-yarder at the end of the scrimmage. He also came up just inches short on a 56-yard attempt. Sophomore Jeremy Shelly hit on his only attempt of the day from 30 yards.

Alabama will take Saturday and Sunday off for Easter before returning to the practice field Monday.