Attendance Big Story At A-Day

No matter how many you expected to attend the A-Day Game, you probably underestimated it. Alabama fans kept streaming into Bryant-Denny Stadium, filling the lower stands and the West upper deck, then the North end zone upper deck, and finally the East side upper deck. Gates were closed to incoming fans in the second quarter as the spiral ramps filled and capacity of 92,138 was exceeded.

The previous record for attendance at an Alabama spring football game was 51,117 on April 9, 1988, when the game was played in Birmingham's Legion Field. The previous high attendance for an A-Day Game in Tuscaloosa was 46,700 set in 1994.

Tennessee had the previous high attendance for a spring game with 73,000 in 1986.

The lineups were mostly as might have been expected, but this was the first time for most to see Alabama's football team and there were a couple of surprises.

Simeon Castille, who started at right cornerback last year, was at left cornerback, with Lionel Mitchell manning the left cornerback spot.

Alabama's defensive alignment was a 4-3 in just about every instance. And the exception was not the 3-4 that might have been expected, but rather a 5-2.

In addition to Castille and Mitchell, the first team defense had Wallace Gilberry and Bobby Greenwood at ends, Bryan Motley at nose tackle, Darren Mustin and Prince Hall at inside linebackers, Keith Saunders and Ezekial Knight at outside linebackers, and Marcus Carter and Rashad Johnson at safeties.

There were two minor surprises in the starting offensive group with redshirt freshmen Terry Grant at tailback and Preston Dial at tight end. Michael Johnson was the right tackle, Marlon Davis at right guard, Antoine Caldwell at center, Justin Britt at left guard, Andre Smith at left tackle, John Parker Wilson at quarterback, and D.J. Hall, Keith Brown and Matt Caddell at wide receiver spots. For the most part, there was no fullback in the lineup, though Baron Huber seemed to be the first teamer.

Jamie Christensen did most of the placekicking, although Leigh Tiffin did come in late. P.J. Fitzgerald was the punter. Both Javier Arenas and Jonathan Lowe had good punt and kickoff returns.

There was no admission charge for the game, but fans were asked to contribute to a relief fund for the City of Enterprise, which was hit by a deadly tornado earlier this year. Coach Nick Saban's wife, Terry, and other coaches' wives were among those who accepted contributions. As of halftime, the United Way of West Alabama had collected approximately $38,000. The final amount raised will be announced in a few days.

Prior to the game, 2006 captains Le'Ron McClain and Juwan Simpson were honored in a Walk of Fame Ceremony at Denny Chimes, where their hand- and foot-prints were added to those of previous Crimson Tide captains.

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