Alabama will have its annual A-Day Game at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. There is no admission charge. ESPN2 will televise the game.
There’s something riding on the outcome, too. Members of the winning team will be treated to a steak dinner Monday night, while in the same room the losing team will eat “beans and weenies.”
This year the White team is the first offense and second defense, the Crimson team the second offense and first defense.
Possible starters based on the way the squad was divided are:
Wide receiver Amari Cooper, wide receiver Christion Jones or Kenny Bell, tight end Brian Vogler, left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, left guard Arie Kouandjio, center Ryan Kelly, right guard Anthony Steen, right tackle Austin Shepherd, quarterback A.J. McCarron, H-back Harrison Jones, tailback T.J. Yeldon.
Defensive end LaMichael Fanning, nose tackle Darren Lake, defensive end Korren Kirven, weakside linebacker Ryan Anderson, middle linebacker Reggie Ragland, strongside linebacker Dillon Lee, jack linebacker Tyler Owens, left cornerback Bradley Sylve, right cornerback Jabriel Washington or Christion Jones, safety Landon Collins, strong safety Nick Perry.
Wide receiver DeAndrew White, wide receiver Chris Black, tight end Malcolm Faciane, left tackle Leon Brown, left guard Alphonse Taylor, center Chad Lindsay, right guard Isaac Luatua, right tackle Kellen Williams, quarterback Blake Sims, H-Back Kurt Freitag, tailback Kenyan Drake.
Defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan, nose tackle Darren Lake, defensive end Ed Stinson, weakside linebacker C.J. Mosley, middle linebacker Tana Patrick, strongside linebacker Denzel Devall, jack linebacker Adrian Hubbard, left cornerback Cyrus Jones, right cornerback Deion Belue, safety HaHa Clinton-Dix, strong safety Vinnie Sunseri.
Placekicker Cade Foster is on the White and placekicker Adam Griffith is on the Crimson. It is likely Cody Mandell, who is listed with the White, will punt for both teams. Alabama is not usually “live” on punts and kickoffs – meaning no returns and no tackling.
A few players, such as linebacker C.J. Mosley, tailback Dee Hart, and H-back Jalston Fowler, may play in black (non-contact) jerseys.
All of the quarterbacks wear black and are not hit.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban said that some players would miss the scrimmage for medical reasons. He said Xzavier Dickson, who has missed a couple of days with what was earlier described as a bruised kneecap, will not participate in the game and may require surgery. Also not participating are tailback Derrick Henry, who suffered a broken leg in practice; linebacker Trey DePriest, who suffered a stress fracture; defensive lineman Wilson Love, who suffered a concussion; and wide receiver Kevin Norwood and cornerback John Fulton, both recovering from surgery to repair turf toe injuries.
Saban said all of the injured should return for fall camp.
The coach said the quarterback rotation would be curtailed by the shortness of the scrimmage. The clock will run except for the final four minutes of each half, which reduces the number of available plays. He said that McCarron and Sims would start and play and that other quarterbacks would get some participation.
Asked what he was looking for in the spring game (other than the obvious “no injuries”), Saban said, “Some guys play a little better when the lights go on. Some guys don’t play as well. A scrimmage is not a spring game. When you put a crowd in the stadium and you put all the coaches on the sidelines, it’s more game-like even though you’re playing against each other. I think you have a much better chance to evaluate – see who is ready to give the kind of effort, play with the kind of toughness, be responsible to do their job, be able to bounce back if they have a good play, bounce back if they have a bad play. It’s interesting to see how guys manage the competitive circumstance.”
Saban also challenged Alabama fans to show up, saying that the players appreciate the Crimson Tide tradition of having a “tremendous crowd, a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of support for our team. We have a lot of good recruits here. I think the message that gets sent by the great support that our team gets is something that has helped us be successful in recruiting.
“They expect to see the best when they come to Alabama. I think we should have the best crowd, we should have the best enthusiasm, we should have the best support for our team.
“Positive energy is very important to the success of the program. I think it’s what has helped us be successful to this point.
“None of us can be complacent.”