Saban, Tide Looking Forward to A-Day Game [VIDEO]
Saturday’s A-Day won’t have any effect on the standings, but it still matters to the team for other reasons.
That according to Alabama coach Nick Saban, at least, in his press conference Thursday evening, his last ahead of the annual open scrimmage to conclude the spring season.
“We’re looking forward to this game, the players are looking forward to it,” Saban said. “A-Day is a tremendous tradition here and a fantastic day for our fans, our players. There’s a lot of tradition that goes on around here, whether it’s the captains at Denny Chimes, the game itself. We have lots of recruits here, so to have the great response that we’ve had and support with a great crowd there, has been something that our players really, really appreciate.”
Since Saban was hired in 2007, Alabama has routinely drawn some of the largest spring game crowds nationally, including a then-spring game record attendance of 92,310 in 2011. Of the 10 largest spring game turnouts in college football history, Alabama owns six of the 10 spots, all coming under Saban. Ohio State holds the all-time record with an announced crowd of 95,722 in 2009.
“If you have the opportunity, come and support our players,” Saban said. “These guys work hard year round just about to try to have the kind of team, the kind of program that a lot of people can be proud of.”
And while the sizeable fan support for a spring game is an incentive for players who come to Alabama, there is at least one more that they will be playing for on Saturday: steak or beans and weenies.
“As you well know, it’s our tradition to have a steak and beans dinner on Monday,” Saban said.
Dating back to at least his days at LSU, Saban annually rewards the winning team of the spring game (in Alabama’s case, Crimson or White) to a steak dinner with a feel of a fancy restaurant, while the losing team eats beans on paper plates with paper towels for napkins and plastic silverware for utensils.
Wide receiver battle
When spring practice began, wide receiver was one of Alabama’s most wide-open position races. With Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones all leaving in the offseason, Alabama was tasked with replacing three starters who received the bulk of the team’s catches in 2014.
But now with spring almost at a close, the Crimson Tide are inching closer to finding what appears to be its next starting trio.
Asked if ArDarius Stewart, Chris Black and Robert Foster are separating as the top three players at their position, Saban didn’t refute it. All three, as he said himself, are on Alabama’s first-team offense, the White team.
“We’re pleased with the progress that these guys have made during the course of the spring,” Saban said. “ … With these guys, we certainly like their ability.”
Black, a junior, is the most-experienced veteran of the receiving corps for next season, while Stewart and Foster will be sophomores who both redshirted in 2013 before receiving minimal playing time a year ago.
But Saban still thinks that there’s “room to grow in that area” and noted, without saying names, that the two freshmen receivers coming this fall – Calvin Ridley and Daylon Charlot – could also make a “contribution,” as well, in addition to the current players already on the roster.
Watch Saban’s full press conference from Thursday below. Also, be sure to check out the latest Alabama player interviews, too: