Alabama's new-look offense debuts in A-Day GamePosted: Saturday March 29, 2003 11:49 PM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Brodie Croyle felt lousy all week, but he was grinning Saturday after Alabama's first A-Day game under new coach Mike Price.
Playing despite losing 12 pounds with the flu, Croyle threw for three touchdowns and 260 yards as a Crimson squad made up of starters beat a White team composed mainly of backups 47-0.
Croyle threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Zach Fletcher on his first offensive play, and he added a 24-yard scoring pass to Clint Johnston. He also had a 7-yard touchdown to Triandos Luke.
Poised to be the Crimson Tide starter this fall, Croyle said he was happy with the progress the team made during spring drills under Price, hired from Washington State following Dennis Franchione's abrupt departure for Texas A&M.
"I thought we had a pretty good day," said an exhausted Croyle, with dark circles under his eyes. "Compared to Coach Fran's first A-Day, there's no comparison."
With an estimated 34,000 fans in the stands for a scrimmage played on a cold, blustery day, Price was happy with what he saw.
"I thought that considering the weather we looked pretty good in the first half," said Price. "We looked very crisp offensively and defensively."
Shaud Williams, who led all rushers with 67 yards on eight carries, said Alabama should be more explosive offensively than last year. "We've got a lot of weapons out there. (And) we're only going to get better," said Williams.
The offense operated almost exclusively out of a one-back set, with receivers spread from sideline to sideline. A receiver was usually headed downfield toward the end zone.
"There's no beating around the bush about it. We're going right at your," said Croyle.
Spencer Pennington, who hopes to challenge Croyle at quarterback in the fall, had a rough day.
Playing with both the Crimson and White teams, Pennington completed seven of 15 pass attempts for 21 yards and two interceptions, including one on the opening play that set up Croyle's first TD pass.
"I just was not clicking," said Pennington. "The offense looked very good. Brodie played excellent, and that's why he's MVP. It was just one of those days."
Luke caught five passes for 71 yards for the Crimson squad, and Fletcher gained 90 yards on three receptions. Johnston had three catches for 47 yards.
Josh Smith ran for two 1-yard touchdowns, and Brian Bostick kicked field goals of 19 and 36 yards.
Carlos Andrews led all defenders with nine tackles for the White team, followed by Juwan Garth with six. Antwan Odom had four tackles.
With spring workouts concluded, Price said it was up to the players to get stronger, study videotapes and work out on their own leading up to Alabama's season opener at South Florida on Aug. 30.
"How many games we will win depends on what they do from now until Aug. 1" when fall practice begins, Price said.