Coach Franchione poses for a photo with two fans. All the coaches were treated like celebrities, but it wasn't hard to see who was the most popular. In between every session, a line formed around the outside wall of the main hall, as participants for their chance to get Franchione's signature and pose for pictures.
"I had to put my eyeballs on Coach Fran," Leah Wilson admitted with a laugh. "He's a nice looking fellow. I'm just a huge Bama fan. I know all about football, but I wanted to come just for the atmosphere. It was everything I expected."
The crowd of more than 550 ladies (many of whom participated last year as well) fills the main hall of the Bryant Conference Center. Scores of door prizes were given out during the day, but the main attractions were clearly the coaches.
"I've loved every minute of it," Carol Tanner said. "I loved it last year and I love it this year. I figured I'd get in the advanced class and learn even more. I thought I knew everything last year, but I learned I didn't."
How does that old song go? "You've got to be a football hero, to make time with the beautiful girls..." Clint Johnston poses with some adoring fans. Johnston, Wesley Britt, Alonzo Ephraim and Todd Bates made an appearance, decked out in their full Crimson Tide uniforms. "We want to see the tight end!" one lady shouted out from the crowd. Don't tell Mrs. Britt, but her baby boy was the first to turn around.
Offensive Line Coach Jim Bob Helduser talks the "Redshirt" group through some basic Xs and Os. From the beginning one thing was abundantly clear. The crowd may have been female, but the information passed along would be of benefit to even the most knowledgable Tide fan.
Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore poses with a fan. Moore gave a detailed rundown of the proposed capital improvement campaign, explaining the five-year plan and revealing that construction should begin after the first of the year.
"It was just a good, fun time, getting to meet all the coaches and staff members," Kathy Cline related. "I wanted to add to what I learned last year."
Working with the intermediate group in the main hall, Special Teams Coordinator Mark Tommerdahl snaps the ball to his quarterback. Tommerdahl used a stopwatch and standins for offense and defense to demonstrate the speed required by quarterbacks in reading defenses and delivering the ball.
Running Backs Coach Lee Fobbs explains what happens at halftime. After the sessions at the conference center, the participants traveled down Paul Bryant Drive and toured the team locker room.
"It was just a lot of fun!" commented Terri Wilborn. "I learned about defensive formations, 'cover two' and that kind of thing. I was here last year and wanted to come again."
Proving that Crimson Tide football carries appeal across gender lines, the Football 101 participants run through the tunnel into Bryant Denny Stadium.
"I first got the idea for the program in talking to my Mom," Franchione explained. "All she knew about football was whether or not her son was hurt. This program lets them have fun and come away with more knowledge."