Saban Discusses Spring And A-Day Game

Anyone who thinks Jake Coker is the number one quarterback because he’s a senior or because he has the most experience or because he’s listed with the White team, which is the first offense for Saturday’s A-Day Game, may not be thinking right.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban discussed Saturday’s A-Day Game following the 14th of 15 practices Thursday said, “We don't really have a first-team quarterback. We had to put some guys on both teams. And I think when it comes to that position, we're putting the guys on the teams so that we feel like they can get the most -- how can we them the best reps and how can we play them where they get reps. That's the No. 1 goal from a quarterback standpoint.”

Saban also discussed the rumors of a new Alabama offense. “We went no-huddle the whole year last year so going no-huddle in the spring is really nothing new,” he said. “We tried to tweak some things in terms of how we do it so we might be more a little more efficient. But that would be the only thing that I would be able to say would be different.”

If you expect to see those “tweaks,” you’ll probably be disappointed Saturday. Asked if the defense has an advantage in the A-Day Game because the offense doesn’t show everything, Saban said, “The defense is dialed back too. They don't have any pressures. They don't have any blitzes. They play three coverages.

“The goal is to have a game where players know what they're doing and can execute.

“We certainly don't want to show what we're doing or what we've done any different in the spring in the A-Day game, which is on TV and everybody gets a copy of, to help our opponents.

“The defense is very simple in the game. The offense is fairly simple so that the players have to get back to block and tackle and execute the plays. That determines who has success in the game.”

The A-Day Game to conclude spring practice kicks off at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. There is no admission charge.

"We're sort of excited for the game on Saturday,” Saban said. “I know the players are excited. Spring practice is a great opportunity for a lot of players to make significant amount of improvement, and we certainly had the opportunity to do that his year. We had quite a few guys that were out for the spring or got hurt in the spring, which created opportunities to give other people a lot of reps. Some of those people will still be out for this game, but I think this is an opportunity for some guys to get out there and play in a game-like situation, which it's our philosophy to try to make this as much a game-like situation.”

Injuries have been a factor in spring practice and result in some players not being available for the A-Day Game.

Saban said, “We've got probably more guys out for this game than we've had in the past, which creates an opportunity for some other players to play. You're always a little thinner in the spring without having the entire freshman class with you. But Jonathan Allen, Ryan Anderson, Cam Sims, Denzel Devall, Cyrus Jones, A'Shawn Robinson -- who probably could play if we were having a game, but we're going to be real cautious with that one --, Brandon Kennedy, Buddy Pell, Bo Scarbrough; and "Hootie" Jones is questionable with an ankle sprain that he got in the last scrimmage. We've got quite a few guys out of this game.”

Saban made a heartfelt request for Crimson Tide fans to attend the game. Over the years there has been spectacular attendance, which he believes has helped the program in various ways, including recruiting. A large number of prospects will be on hand for the game. But in recent years that attendance has dwindled, and bad weather predicted for Saturday could adversely affect it.

He said, “"But we're looking forward to this game, the players are looking forward to it. A-Day is a tremendous tradition here and a fantastic day for our fans, our players. There's a lot of tradition that goes on around here, whether it's the captains at Denny Chimes (Noon), the game itself, we have lots of recruits here. To have the great response that we've had and support, with the great crowd there, has been something that our players really, really appreciate. If you have the opportunity, come to support our players. These guys work hard year-round just about to try to have the kind of team, the kind of program that a lot of people can be proud of. This is an opportunity for a lot of fans to come and see our team, but it's also a chance for you to come and support our team.

"I think this has been a tremendous asset to our program, the way A-Day has turned out for us in the past. I know it impresses a lot of people when we have that kind of support and that kind of response. For those that are coming out, we certainly do appreciate it.

One of the traditions of the game is that on Monday the winning team – players and coaches – will have a steak dinner. In the same room, the losing team will have “beans and weenies.” Saban appoints media representatives to participate as guest coaches. He said the losing media member has never shown up for his beans and weenies.

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