"We're really looking forward to it."
Though selected by the White squad's draft day gurus A.C. Carter, Smoke Dixon, Theo Sanders, and Waine Bacon, Croyle's pick was expected. "We knew they were going to take Brodie with the first pick," Crimson captain Tyler Watts claimed afterwards. "We were prepared."
Whatever Watts and his fellow Crimson selectors Kenny King, Brooks Daniels, and Ahmaad Galloway grand strategy was, they didn't get a chance to implement it. Because Commissioner Franchione immediately stepped in and added Spencer Pennington to the Crimson roster. A move that that was quickly protested by the White brain trust.
"We're sort of limited at quarterback," Croyle said. "So we had to go early or we could have bribed them for everything they had."
Watts, of course, will play little if at all. "I'm just like Pete Rose. I'm going to be a player/coach," Watts joked Friday.
But removing Watts from the equation means that Croyle and Pennington will have the spotlight mostly to themselves. "We're not looking at it like that," Croyle said. "We really haven't talked about it, but the hardest days are done. Saturday is just going to be fun. It's for the fans. We just want to go out there and have a good time."
Given that Croyle is the only quarterback on the White roster (Crimson has both Pennington and backup Matt Miller), he should get as much of a "good time" as he can handle. Interestingly, his squad is also loaded at receiver, featuring starters AC Carter, Dre Fulgham and Triandos Luke, along with backups Lance Taylor, Thurman Ward and Leslie Williams.
"It's going to be fun," Croyle said. "Hopefully we can air it out a little bit."
Of course the downside to that equation could come on the line of scrimmage, where White features only one starting offensive lineman: Wesley Britt. Every other lineman blocking for Croyle will be a reserve. On the other hand, Crimson will trot out Alonzo Ephraim, Evan Mathis, Justin Smiley and Marico Portis--4/5s of Bama's starting unit--to block for its QBs.
But while the Crimson quarterbacks will be well protected, Pennington and Miller will have to throw to reserve receivers against a strong White defensive backfield. Starters Waine Bacon, Charles Jones and Gerald Dixon all will play for White, bolstered up by reserves Roberto McBride, Hamid Haqq, Chris James and Marc Miller.
On the other hand, the Crimson secondary will see all three redshirt freshmen--Charlie Peprah, Anthony Madison and Roman Harper--working together as a unit. Other key Crimson DBs include Corey Ferguson, Carlos Andrews and Eric Moore.
"Dividing up into teams will jazz it up some, but it's hard to make A-Day dull anyway," Croyle commented. "But this definitely sparks it a little bit."
At running back, the two squads look well balanced. Crimson features Ahmaad Galloway, Shaud Williams and Nick Signaigo. White will utilize Santonio Beard, Ray Hudson, Josh Smith and Marquez Dupree. Of course Watts quickly points out that it's hard to run much without the linemen to block.
Another area Watts' team has a decided advantage is linebacker, where the Crimson braintrust managed to draft Alabama's entire starting unit. Brooks Daniels, Cornelius Wortham, Freddie Roach and key reserve Jason Rawls will all compete for Crimson. White will counter with second stringers Mark Anderson and Marvin Brown along with Juke King who is currently third-string strongside linebacker.
"All three starting linebackers? That's just good strategy," Watts said. "We had a plan."
"I've been real nice to some of them," Croyle said. "They've got the whole starting linebacker corps, so I've been a lot nicer since then."
Defensive line will be an interesting matchup. White has the edge at end with both Nautyn McKay-Loescher and Antwan Odom, while Crimson only has a hobbled Gerard Clark (ankle). But Clark will get plenty of help on the inside from Kenny King, Anthony Bryant and Derek Sanders. White's tackles are Atlas Herrion and Bart Raulston. With that lineup, don't be surprised to see King getting a chance to work on his pass-rush skills by sliding over to defensive end and chasing Brodie Croyle.
"We'll definitely be live," Croyle said. "We're as live as they come. Some of those tags that we get whistled down for won't happen. But on the other hand, some of those that they whistle before they get to us are going to happen."
Franchione spoke yesterday about the "verbal sparring" between the two squads, acknowledging that was just a nice way of saying there was loads of trash talk flying around. Croyle related, "That's all there was before practice. That's all there was yesterday. As soon as we found out everybody that we had, it's really been going since then.
"That just makes it a lot more fun. Hopefully we can come out with a win."