Monday, April 19, 2010

White=STEAK...Crimson=BEANS: A-Day 2010

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(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

If a spring game could ever end in dramatic fashion, the 2010 version of Alabama
A-Day came down to the wire…and well…even after the wire. In front of 91,312 fans, the White team (first-team defense/second-team offense) claimed a 23-17 victory on a sunny, yet pollen filled afternoon in Tuscaloosa.

As is the case with any spring game, proper evaluation is next to impossible. Based on rules such as no kick return tackles, and no “rough contact” to a quarterback, many plays are blown dead without a “proper” outcome.

However, one can still take stock of some obvious highlights and lowlights from the day.

The Good:

Back-up quarterback AJ McCarron had a solid spring and it certainly culminated in a very solid performance on Saturday. McCarron seemed poised and showcased his solid arm, especially on the final play of the game which resulted in the winning touchdown.

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson and Heisman winner Mark Ingram were very productive. Gibson ended the game with eight receptions for 142 yards, and the game winning touchdown. Ingram had nine carries for 90 yards and won MVP honors.

The Bad:

The offensive line for both teams seemed rather unstable. Regardless of the quarterback under center, many times pressure came quick and pressure came fast. Again, it is hard to evaluate proper line protection during a spring game, but the offensive line looked rather vulnerable throughout the day.

In respect to the kicking game, the word “painful” comes to the top of the list. Granted starting punter Jay Williams has yet to arrive on campus, but the punting during the spring game was something one would expect from a lower classification high school. Sad…but true.


As for the final moments of the game, and the all important steak dinner to the winner, well it was so wild ESPN had to leave the coverage to join the NBA.

With the Crimson leading 17-7, the White squad rallied to tie the game. On the final play in regulation AJ McCarron threw a pass near the endzone which fell incomplete. Well, the game was “over” and the ESPN coverage…dissolved.

However, when steak and beans are on the line, you keep playing. Saban ruled the extra time as “sudden death” and AJ McCarron found Brandon Gibson for a 39-yard touchdown which ended the game. Acting as though the White squad had just defeated an SEC opponent on the final play, Gibson was swarmed by his teammates in the endzone.

“It felt good,” Gibson said. "I hadn't had that big moment yet. But I'm not trying to be too excited about it. It was a big play, but I just want to do it in front of 92,000 during the season."

Oddly enough (but somehow all part of the Saban process) Brandon Gibson, now a junior, has only played in seven games and caught only two passes in his Alabama career. I think it’s safe to assume, Gibson will be in the rotation in 2010.

Overall Nick Saban seemed pleased with the day and reported no injuries, which is indeed the biggest “victory” of the spring public scrimmage.

When fall camp begins in August, Alabama will certainly be ranked the
No. 1 team in the nation by most, if not all, the major polls.

Finally, the Crimson Tide continues to build for the future, and over the weekend the Tide received verbal commitments from three of the best prospects in the nation for the 2011 season.

Alabama landed arguably the top safety in the nation in the person of Hasean Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix is from Orlando, and is considered a five-star prospect and one of the top players in the state of Florida.

The Tide also received a verbal from Auburn High School defensive end LaMichael Fanning. Fanning is listed as the nation’s No. 12 prospect and is considered a four-star talent according to

Rounding out the verbal commitments from the weekend, Jabriel Washington from Jackson, Tenn., has given his word to Alabama. Washington, who is listed as an athlete, can play quarterback, receiver, and cornerback. It is very likely that Washington is being recruited as a corner to help fill the gaps and build depth in the ‘Bama secondary. Jabriel Washington is listed as the 10th-best cornerback in the nation, and is considered a four-star prospect.

Alabama now has nine verbal commitments for the class of 2011. It goes without saying; Nick Saban could once again haul in the nation’s top recruiting class come February.

Let the “process” continue…

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