Sunday, April 19, 2009
A-Day is always a difficult proposition for football fans like myself -- real football fans, the ones who follow it to the point that other people question our sanity, the ones who remember what play was called in the 2002 Alabama-Arkansas game and who carried the ball.
(OK ... fine.)
Anyway, like most everyone else, we real football fans love spring -- if for no other reason -- than it's simply a taste of football during a dead period. It also lets us know football isn't too far away -- Media Days will be here in late July, with fall practice starting the following week. And once that happens, we've basically hit the ground running. Plus, A-Day gives us an excuse to do all the things we enjoy during football season outside of the actual game -- tailgating, seeing old friends, walking around campus, hearing the band play, etc., etc., etc.
But A-Day always feels like kind of a silly exercise as well. Anyone who's remotely injured won't participate, and that list often includes a number of players who will play supporting roles in the fall. The schemes for both the offense and the defense are scaled back to their most basic levels -- you won't see ANY of Nick Saban's complicated blitz schemes on A-Day. Further, you're probably not seeing any of the recruits who might make an immediate impact in the fall because they haven't yet arrived -- Julio Jones and Terrence Cody, two of Alabama's best in '08, were nowhere to be found at A-Day '08.
So you take the competition for what it is: a scaled-down scrimmage mostly just for those of us who crave an excuse to drive to Tuscaloosa and watch some football, even if it's fake.
And with that in mind, here are some thoughts from around the Web from Saturday's scrimmage.
-- First, the basics: the standout of the day was Greg McElroy, who looked so much better than the two guys behind him -- Star Jackson and Thomas Darrah -- that I started having Brodie Croyle/Spencer Pennington flashbacks (remember: that '04 team had a fantastic OL and the best D in the country, but once Brodie got hurt it couldn't overcome the giant hole at QB).
BSR has a more detailed analysis of the QBs' performances. Apparently, the 2d OL is just as bad as the 2d QBs (I say "apparently" because I didn't actually watch the game).
-- Per Dennis Pillion: videos from postgame interviews. Ian also has the day in pictures, via Twitter.
-- Not surprisingly, coach Saban -- like every other coach on A-Day -- was pleased with the team and the crowd. Making him very happy? Surprise standout was safety Robby Green, who had a great day in Rashad Johnson's old spot.
-- Ian also grabbed an interview with Tyrone Prothro, who played in the pre-scrimmage flag football skirmish in the stadium. Well done, sir.
-- The final positive from A-Day: the university unveiled a new, very cool ad campaign. The commercial with Anthony Grant is so good, it almost makes up for that ridiculous "Crimson is" campaign, which is eventually going to put me in a mental institution.
Positive waves, man. Positive waves.
Between now and July, our best hope is to hear absolutely nothing from our program and our players. The less offseason news we hear, the better.