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Record-breaking crowd at Alabama’s spring game: A fan’s reaction
Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was packed April 16 with an estimated 92,310 Alabama Crimson Tide fans. The record-breaking crowd was there for the A-Day Alabama college football spring game. Fan-base enthusiasm is high this season; attendance exceeded the Tide's spring game last year.
The A-Day teams were evenly matched: first string offense played first string defense and second string offense played second string defense.
The first-team kickoff returns included running back Trent Richardson and wide receiver Darius Hanks. First-team punt returns included Keiwone Malone and Marquis Maze, who also worked on kickoff return.
Running backs look strong overall—running, catching, and holding onto the football. We're thinking the coaches will pull back on the passing game and let the RBs rule the offense for the 2011-2012 season.
RB Trent Richardson looked great, catching seven receptions with 167 all-purpose yards. Of course, this frustrated junior LB Don't'a Hightower, who we expect a lot from this year. Wide receivers didn't look impressive; too many fumbles after the catch.
D.J. Fluker started the A-Day game at offensive right tackle. He was later replaced by Arie Kouandjio.
The quarterback challenge continues
The Crimson Tide's A-Day football game did not answer the looming quarterback question. The race between redshirt sophomore AJ McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims is still on. McCarron connected 21 of his 38 passes while Sims connected on 19 of his 38. McCarron put up 222 yards against Sims' 229. Both guys threw an interception.
The SEC is a hard place to break in a new quarterback and their inexperience is showing. The QBs had a sporadic start, but started looking better as the game progressed.
Although coach Nick Saban is using spring practice as an opportunity to see which quarterback will emerge not only as a winning football player but also as a strong team leader, the contest will probably continue into next season. It's an exciting race.
If the A-Day game is any indication, Alabama's defense will be a force this season. The defensive line and linebackers displayed a strong up-the-field push. Pursuit was unyielding. Defensive backs looked tough, as well.
Mark Barron had a major play, returning a fumble 96 yards for a TD.
With strong performances, linebacker Chris Jordan (Crimson team), linebacker CJ Mosley and cornerback Ranzell Watkins (White team) each had nine tackles.
Nose guard Josh Chapman was in the middle of Ed Stinson and Damion Square. Later in the game Darrington Sentimore rotated in.
Junior college transfers Quinton Dial and Jesse Williams played second-team defensive line at end. Nick Gentry played nose guard.
The guys gunning for lead position at left tackle-Aaron Douglas, a junior college transfer and Alfred McCullough, a senior-both played with the second offense Saturday. Douglas was at left tackle (later replaced by Tyler Love) and McCullough at left guard.
Normally on right guard, Barrett Jones played the spring game on offensive left tackle. On the first offense, his spot at right guard was played by Anthony Steen.
A-Day game results
The Crimson team beat the White team, 14-10.
What to expect
As we expected, the coaching was excellent. It looks like the team has depth on both sides of the ball. While the spring game itself wasn't wildly exciting, come Game 1, the Alabama Crimson Tide will be ready for a battle. If coach Saban can get the team to come together, we'd say the Tide has a real shot at the 2011-2012 national championship.
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