Another Big Crowd For Tide's A-Day
Alabama has had excellent A-Day attendance in each of the four years Nick Saban has been coach. In addition to the record in 2007 and this year's mark, which is second best in Bama history, the Crimson-White game drew 84,050 in 2009 and 78,200 in 2008.
Saturday's Alabama A-Day Game was played with special rules. Quarterbacks were not tackled, but rather were called down when in the opinion of the officials the defense could have made the tackle. There was also a two-hand touch rule on kickoff returns. All punts were fair caught...well, all until the fourth quarter. Julio Jones returned a long punt in the third quarter for 19 yards. There was no explanation as to why the fair catch rule was abrogated, but a couple more were returned later.
The White team had the best razzle-dazzle play of the Alabama A-Day Game. The White put former high school quarterback Brad Smelley (now a tight end) in Wildcat formation with quarterback A.J. McCarron split out to the right. Smelley threw to McCarron, who then completed a long pass to Trent Richardson going down the left side.
Freshman Cade Foster was the kickoff man for both the Crimson and White teams. He drew a cheer when he kicked off deep into the end zone to start the second half.
The punter for both teams in the A-Day Game was freshman Zach Goehler, who was a high school punter at T.C. Williams in Alexandria, Virginia. Most expect incoming freshman Jay Williams of Thomasville to be Bama's punter in the fall.
Alabama graduate Steve Shaw, a Southeastern Conference official who cannot call Bama games during the regular season because of his alumni status, was once again referee for the A-Day Game. Shaw did not play football at Alabama. He was joined by Crimson Tide football alumni who are now SEC officials: Brent Sowell, Jay Vines, Mike Washington, and Lamonde Russell.
Prior to Saturday's A-Day Game, Alabama Coach Nick Saban and 2009 Crimson Tide captains took part in the annual ceremony at Denny Chimes. Rolando McClain, Mike Johnson, and Javier Arenas joined previous Bama football captains in having their hand- and foot-prints placed in concrete around the base of the campus landmark.
Fans in Bryant-Denny Stadium got a nice preview of how the new South end zone expansion is going to look. The addition of the skyboxes and upper deck in the South end zone is on schedule to be completed in July. The upper deck has most of the concrete supports in and has one set of the seating forms. The skyboxes have glass fronts. Although the new video boards are in place, they are not yet in use.
Alabama opens the 2010 season hosting San Jose State September 4.
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