Tide takes final prep for A-Day

Tide takes final prep for A-Day

Spencer White

With A-Day looming two days away, the defending national championship-winning Crimson Tide had its final spring practice Thursday afternoon in shorts and without pads.

Not that Tide head coach Nick Saban believes in the idea of defending a title at all.

“I’m not sure we’re defending anything,” Saban said. “What we did, we can’t lose. It’s history.”

Instead, heading into his fourth A-Day at the Capstone, Saban said he is only worried about what has become his usual concern: the process of improvement.

“The difficult part of it for me is the process,” Saban said. “It’s more difficult for people to stay focused on the process of things they need to do to [win another championship].”

The notoriously hard-to-please Saban expressed his belief that the squad had made substantial improvement over the course of the spring, which will serve as welcome news to Alabama fans anxiously wondering how the Tide will rebound from the loss of nine defensive starters from last season.

“I think we’ve had a good offseason,” Saban said. “We’ve had a lot of guys make a significant amount of improvement.”

At the same time, the perfectionist in Saban won’t be kept satisfied.

“We’re not satisfied in terms of where we need to be,” Saban said. “We need more players to be able to play winning football, to be more consistent in their performance day in and day out.”

Saban even pointed out that some members of Alabama’s 2010 recruiting class, yet another top five nationally ranked bunch, may be needed to fill in some holes.

“We may have some young players who may be able to contribute to those issues when we get here in the fall,” Saban said.

Saban also took some time to address the event of A-Day itself.

“I know our players are really looking forward to this Saturday,” Saban said. “I know it has a very positive impact on recruiting… We’re excited that ESPN will be here and give our team and our players exposure all over the country. This kind of positive environment and support is probably one of the biggest reasons that we’ve had the success that we’ve had.”

The A-Day scrimmage is set for 2 p.m. and is free for anyone who comes to the gates.

Other notes

-Saban confirmed that the Crimson and White teams would be comprised of the first-team offense and defense being pitted against each other, similar to last year’s scrimmage. Saban said that the reasoning had to do with developing the chemistry between the new starters that will comprise a large portion of the unit for the 2010 season.

“Last year we did it this way for the development of our offense,” Saban said. “This year we’re doing it this way so our defense gets a chance to play together.”

-Saban also mentioned the hectic schedule he would be facing on Saturday, a collection of speeches all across town in the morning before making his way to the stadium in the early afternoon.

“I think this is the record-setting day for me in terms of number of speeches that anyone could give in one day,” Saban joked. “It sort of befuddles me to some degree that we can’t get all those people in one place and get to talk to everybody.”

-Saban stated that center William Vlachos, wide receivers Michael Bowman and Earl Alexander would definitely be out for A-Day and also left open the possibility that Taylor Pharr (concussion), Milton Talbert and Chad Lindsey could be unavailable as well.

-One of the perks of the winning A-Day team, besides the obvious bragging rights among the team, is a steak dinner provided by the coaches, while the loser is given beans. Defensive end Marcel Dareus, a starter for the first-team defense, made sure to mention in earshot of wide receiver Julio Jones that he preferred medium-rare steak, while Jones insisted on the merits of medium-well.