Commissioner Saban on A-Day

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, acting as A-Day game commissioner, improvised special overtime rules Saturday, allowing A.J. McCarron's White team an additional play after time had expired.

ESPN's live broadcast had already gone off the air, but McCarron's 39-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson gave the White team the win, meaning they get to eat steak at Monday's team dinner while Greg McElroy and the Crimson squad will be eating beans.

After the game, Saban explained the controversial decision.

"We were just going to keep on playing," Saban said. "It was just going to be sudden death, go for it on fourth down, let each team take their shots. Somebody was going to eat steak and somebody was going to eat beans on Monday."

Greg McElroy, who has never lost a game as a starting quarterback in high school or in college, unless if you count Saturday's A-Day game, insisted "the game was already over" when McCarron completed the winning touchdown.

"I'm actually happy for A.J. that he was able to come through and make a play at the end," McElroy said. "I think they didn't want to buy that many steaks, or have the Bryant dining staff prepare that many."

Heisman Trophy winner and rising junior Mark Ingram, also a part of the bean-eating Crimson squad, asked about the 'controversy' said of commissioner Saban, "He's the man; what he said goes."

Getting down to the more serious business of the day, Saban called A-Day "a fantastic day and a fantastic weekend for the University of Alabama."

"Overall I'm pleased with the outcome of the day," he said. "We didn't have anybody injured. You don't really lose a spring game if you don't lose any players."

Alabama's quarterbacks impressed Saban, as they apparently have done all spring. Saban said he was really comfortable with the strength and depth at that position.

"They (the quarterbacks) all did a good job," he said. "The thing that probably concerned me most out there today was that we didn't do a lot of multiples in pass rushing, and I would have liked to see the quarterbacks have a little more solid pocket in pass protections. That is something that has not been an issue, but in the last scrimmage and then today we had some issues. We need to make progress in that area."

Saban said he felt like he had "seven or eight" offensive linemen who could "go out there and play" in a real game right now, "but I still feel like we have to make progress at right tackle."

Saban said that, defensively, "a lot of those questions (at linebacker) have been answered. Dante (Hightower) coming back has given us a lot of leadership there. I've been pleased with the progress of the first two corners (Dre Kirkpatrick and B.J. Scott). I thought they made some progress but there's room to grow there. We're still not totally settled at safety."

Saban said he felt okay with the two place kickers, Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley, but that "we really don't have a punter. We've got two young guys coming in at that position in the fall and one of those is going to have to step in and be ready to play."

Fielding a question about his thoughts on Alabama likely being ranked number one in the nation entering 2010, Saban said, "I don't want to comment on that. If this team is ranked No. 1 its because of what they did last year. This team hasn't done anything. We have a lot of problems, and how those problems get solved and what kind of commitment and attention to detail and focus on progress of what they need to improve is gonna be what determines if this team is successful, not a poll."

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