As Alabama released the rosters for A-Day on Thursday, they also hit the practice field for the final practice before the game.
The big news coming out of practice is the fact that both running backs Altee Tenpenney and Drake were absent during the media’s view period. Nick Saban addressed this issue after practice saying that they were “at the study table” during practice due to the fact that they “didn’t do what they were supposed to do in school this week.” Saban said that they were obligated to spend four hours at the study table today or they wouldn’t be allowed to play at A-Day. He got extremely fired up when talking about players needing to take responsibility in the classroom. Seems like he’s sending a message to the team early.
Injured receiver DeAndrew White was on the practice field working with athletic trainer Jeff Allen off to the side again today.
Jarran Reed, Brandon Ivory, and A’Shawn Robinson were leading the defensive line in position drills again. All three are on the white roster for A-Day.
DJ Pettway was spotted getting some “extra attention” during defensive line drills about his footwork and balance. Pettway is listed on the A-Day roster as a linebacker but he’s been primarily working with the defensive line during the spring. That probably means he will be playing the jack/buck position.
Former Alabama player and current Buffalo Bill Marcell Dareus was in attendance at today’s practice. As was ESPN’s Joey Galloway, he’ll be one of the commentators for the A-Day broadcast on ESPNU.
In his final press conference of the spring head coach Nick Saban said that he thought the energy was better today and felt the players made a lot of progress this spring. He said that they are still not satisfied however.
Saban says that he and the team look at A-Day as an “exhibition game” and the idea is to try and create an identity. He joked that the players have been trying to pressure him to pick a side this year instead of just eating steak with the winners like he has been doing. The losers of Saturday’s scrimmage eat a supper of pork and beans while the winners get steak.
He confirmed that Eddie Jackson, DeAndrew White, and Darren Lake will miss the game due to injury.
A lot of people have noted that Cameron Robinson was put on the crimson team, the first team offense, while Brandon Greene will be on the white team. Saban said of Robinson that he has come a long way in the spring. Robinson is obviously pushing to put the first true freshman to be a starter for Nick Saban on the offensive line at Alabama. Not even Cyrus Kouandjio, Barrett Jones, or DJ Fluker started as true freshmen. In fact the last true freshman to start on the offensive line for Alabama was Andre Smith back in 2006 during the Mike Shula era.
Saban said that Geno Smith has had a bring spring and feels that he has the possibility of making a big impact next year with how active he is at safety. This is good news since Smith found himself in the dog house following a DUI incident last year and never seemed to crawl out of it in the 2013 season. He seems to have really embraced his move from cornerback to safety.
The NCAA has been making news lately because of the new “snacks rule” that they have implementing and Saban briefly touched on it saying that he didn’t know the specifics of it but was in support of players having unlimited meal plans.
There will be a slew of former Alabama players signing autographs in the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa area this weekend. Jay Barker, Gene Stallings, Andrew Zow, Atonio Langham, and Chris Rogers will be signing autographs outside on the North Endzone at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday morning at 9:00 AM. Former Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker is going to be signing copies of his new book “A Season to Remember: Faith In The Midst of the Storm” at two different events at A-Day. The first will be at 1:00 PM on the Quad right before the game and the other will take place after the game at Lifeway Christian Book Store from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM. Nick Saban wrote the forward for the book. Also, that day AJ McCarron, CJ Mosley, Kevin Norwood, and Kenny Bell will be signing autographs at University Mall from 5:30-7:30 PM on Saturday. They will be taking part in A-Day festivities during the day as well.
Fans and former players and coaches won’t be the only people in attendance at A-Day either. A long list of big time recruits for the 2015 recruiting class will be taking in the sights at A-Day. Those recruits include five star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, NJ), five star defensive tackle Daron Payne (Shades Valley, AL), and five star defensive tackle Tim Settle (Manassas, VA).