Plenty of reasons to watch

The Crimson squad is overloaded with returning starters and assorted other No. 1s, but that doesn't mean that tomorrow's A-Day scrimmage won't be enjoyable to watch.

Head Coach Mike Price has said he wants to "look good" for the assembled crowd and put on an entertaining show. The athletes in crimson definitely appear poised to do just that, but for the dedicated fan there are other things worth watching besides the final score.

The scrimmage is set to start at 1:06 (CST). Doors to Bryant-Denny Stadium will open at noon. Prior to kickoff, last year's team captains will be honored as they place their hand- and footprints in cement, to be enshrined at the foot of Denny Chimes.

Croyle could have a big day.

In the fireworks department, both Brodie Croyle and Spencer Pennington have made great strides in learning the new offense. With all three starting wideouts on his side, Croyle will certainly have a better chance to put up some big numbers. But Price's down-the-field passing attack will be fun to watch, no matter who's doing the throwing and catching.

A great deal of work over the summer fine-tuning the schemes and honing the timing between receivers and quarterbacks remains to be done. But both Pennington and Croyle will be "looking endzone" first tomorrow, which should be fun to watch.

Alabama returns three of four starters from last year's very good offensive line. Plus the two new additions to the starting unit have good experience. But there will be plenty of reason to watch Bama's "Big Uglies" tomorrow anyway. Under new line coach Bobby Connelly, the players have been learning entirely new techniques, as they switch the emphasis from run blocking to pass protection.

Herrion would love to make a statement.

Unfortunately, with all the best pass rushers on the Crimson roster, fans won't be able to tell much about how far the starting O-Linemen have come. But on the other hand, if the second-stringers have any success at all against a Crimson rush that includes Antwan Odom, Leslie Williams, Mark Anderson, Anthony Bryant and Ahmad Childress, then that will be news--and possibly proof that the new pass blocking techniques are taking hold.

As far as Crimson tailbacks Shaud Williams and Ray Hudson are concerned, the only real questions are ‘How often will they get the football?' and ‘How many yards will they rack up?' With Williams and Hudson running behind the first-string offensive line and running against the second-string defense, it could get ugly.

On the other hand (side), redshirt freshmen Kenneth Darby and Nic Luke have their work cut out for them. Darby has been one of the best stories of spring, running by and through tacklers on a regular basis and generally establishing himself as the heir apparent at tailback. If he has any success at all tomorrow against the first-string defense, it'll bode well for Bama's future.

Darby will need to be at his best.

Again, the Crimson squad got the top tight ends, but at that position the talent is actually distributed fairly evenly. David Cavan, Clint Johnston, Greg McLain and Donald Clarke… Pick any two as your starters and fans would be happy. What will be interesting tomorrow is how often the tight end is utilized in the passing game. Cavan especially has flourished in the new offense.

On paper at least, Crimson's defensive line should be dominant. But fans will get a chance to see plenty of Anthony Bryant, Ahmad Childress and Antwan Odom, players that promise to be pillars of next year's defense. If White's offensive tackles don't have a good day, then speed rushers Leslie Williams and Mark Anderson could end up camping out in the White backfield. But both Atlas Herrion and Grant Dickey have good talent, so that battle will be an intriguing one to watch.

On the other side, redshirt freshmen Kyle Tatum and Jeremy Clark on White's squad will be severely challenged versus Bama's starting five linemen. If Tatum and Clark respond well, it will once again bode well for next year's team.

Fans will finally get to see Garth on the football field.

The White squad will at least have plenty of athleticism at outside linebacker. Fans will enjoy watching Demeco Ryans and Juwan Garth, two future stars. But Crimson linebackers Freddie Roach, Derrick Pope, Cornelius Wortham and Brooks Daniels could make it a long day for tailbacks Darby and Luke.

Charlie Peprah, Anthony Madison, Roman Harper and Charles Jones have run first string all spring, and they'll handle Crimson's secondary. The White squad has several tall receivers, so it'll be interesting to see how Madison handles that challenge. Peprah, of course, has the look of an All-SEC player.

But there will be plenty of excitement watching current reserve corners Thurman Ward, David Scott, Ramzee Robinson and Roberto McBride (all on White's squad) matched up against Crimson's Big 3 receivers: Dre Fulgham, Triandos Luke and Zach Fletcher.

Michael Ziifle

When it comes to the kicking specialists, it frankly doesn't matter which jersey they're wearing. Fans (and coaches) just want to see some solid kicking tomorrow…

From anyone.

As kicking coach Aaron Price has often said, it's all about what you do during games. That means that the depth chart means little right now, and any of several punters or placekickers has the chance to do himself a world of good with a solid performance tomorrow.

NOTE: To limit confusion, several players will be wearing different numbers in Saturday's scrimmage, including Jeff Aul-14, Kyle Tatum-96, Jon Brunson-55 and Scoop McDowell-80.


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