Crimson Tide set for first scrimmage of fall practice

Anniston StarAugust 9, 2013 

Alabama Practice Football

VASHA HUNT/Associated PressAlabama defensive back Cyrus Jones grabs a throw during practice Thursday.


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- As safety Vinnie Sunseri exited the Naylor Stone media room in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility, he shouted back to center Ryan Kelly, "Yeah, you better be scared," in reference to the team's first scrimmage.

Kelly was fielding questions about Alabama's Saturday scrimmage when Sunseri saw an opportunity to talk a little trash. While teammates, as competitors, the defensive and offensive player often joke around about which unit is better.

Kelly chuckled as he was being asked about memories from his first scrimmage.

"Actually, I didn't participate in my first scrimmage," Kelly said. "I got a concussion from Dont'a Hightower in about the third practice. Yeah. I didn't participate in that one, but I remember last year."

Now, Kelly goes into the first scrimmage of preseason practice as the starting center, with a different approach to the game.

"They always say as you're a two, expect to be a starter and prepare like you're the starter, but it's hard to do that," Kelly said. "But now that you're in a starting role and you have major responsibilities to your teammates, you have to be accountable for everything you do."

Sunseri on the other hand, vividly remembers his first scrimmage. As Sunseri looked into the backfield that day, he saw another player wearing No. 3 staring back at him: Trent Richardson.

"I remember looking across the ball and seeing Trent Richardson looking at me and thinking, "Golly, I hope he don't get the ball right now," Sunseri said.

Did Richardson get it?

"Yeah, he got it -- and I hit him," Sunseri said. "But I broke my whole helmet trying to tackle him."

Linebacker Trey DePriest recalls struggling in his first preseason practice scrimmage. He too had a run in with Richardson.

"He didn't break (my helmet), but we met," DePriest said.

Don't expect coach Nick Saban to be satisfied with Saturday's scrimmage. In fact, Saban noted that he's never been pleased with the first scrimmage of any camp.

"Not really. I think as a coach, you're not really happy with the first game," he said. "First of all, we're not going to have a perfect scrimmage, we're not going to have a perfect first game. Whatever is imperfect, we'll want to try to work to correct."

Both sides of the ball will be looking to give the other looks they haven't seen in previous practices, which will be especially beneficial to the young defense, Sunseri said.

"Lot of formation recognition," Sunseri said. "We need to get the young guys ready for that.

"We need to get the young guys communicating really well. We need to go out there and give a lot of effort. That's what coach Saban is looking for, a lot of effort, a lot of good tackling, a lot of good formation recognition and everybody going to ball as fast as they can."

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