Tomorrow Franchione will preside over a draft, in which captains for the Crimson and White teams respectively select their squads. Franchione explained, "The guys will have fun. We've had a good spring. The guys have worked hard, and that format fits the end of spring better. I've done this before, and they do have fun. They spar back and forth. The teams will start jockeying around after Thursday's practice. It gives them ownership and a sense of pride."
A-Day activities, including an autograph session at Coleman Coliseum (9-11) and a team reunion for the 1992 national championship squad on the Quad (12-1:30), will precede the game, which will kickoff at 2:30. To foster fan involvement, Franchione has planned a few changes in the traditional activities.
"We'll introduce every player, which is new," Franchione said. "We'll do the Walk of Fame ceremony (honoring last year's team captains) in the stadium. I want everybody to be able to see that setting, which is a very good tradition. This way we'll have 35-45,000 people.
"And I want my players to see the ceremony. I want our players to see that and to aspire to be a leader at that level so their name is one that may be placed in the Quad at Denny Chimes."
Chosen from the Leadership Council, Brooks Daniels, Ahmaad Galloway, Tyler Watts and Kenny King will handle the draft for the Crimson team, while Antonio Carter, Waine Bacon, Theo Sanders and Gerald Dixon will select for White. White will have first pick, which is the only detail Franchione plans to share with the public.
He explained, "As sure as we stand here somebody will have to draft all the quarterbacks on one team, and I'll have to make sure a trade is negotiated. They'll have three hours to negotiate any trades. I'll be commissioner from Thursday's practice on. I'll adjust the two teams if I need to."
One thing certain is that Brodie Croyle and Spencer Pennington will not be on the same team. "Tyler Watts will not play much if any," Franchione revealed. "I want Brodie and Spencer to get a great deal of work in a live situation. We're probably going to take the black jerseys off of them. It'll be a live game and a game situation. With their youth that will be a valuable situation to get them ready for the season.
"Tyler has been through a lot of battles. We're comfortable with his knowledge. We need to put the two young ones out there and see what they can do with the teams."
Today's practice session drops to one the number of work days left to Franchione this spring. And he wasn't entirely pleased with the effort. "We had a different kind of tempo day, with a lot of individual things that we wanted to clean up," he explained. "I was a little disappointed with the tempo when we got to team, but I think we'll pick it back up Thursday. I think we'll bounce back and be fine."
Both Jarret Johnson and Kindal Moorehead, senior defensive linemen who had missed the previous weeks of practice with injury, were dressed out on the field today. But don't expect either to see any action at A-Day. "They dressed out merely to get some work," Franchione said. "I doubt that they will play in the game."
After Thursday, the real work of spring will be finished. "Spring practice can become a grind without the game to look forward to in the fall," Franchione said. "Saturday is game day for the players. Their families will be there. I may let the teams add a trick play. That adds to the excitement. But it won't be an off-the-wall game."
"And I want to encourage our fans to come out and encourage this team. This is a special group of young men. It's real important for our fans to convey that spirit to those players."