April 14, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Alabama football team held its 15th and final practice of the spring on a cold April afternoon, working outside for approximately two hours in shells Monday. The coaching staff and players had a chance to evaluate the film from Saturday's A-Day Game, make corrections, and then work against scout teams simulating plays and formations they would likely see in the fall.
"We really got a lot out of today," said head coach Nick Saban. "We got to watch the film, first of all, had an opportunity to coach our players and make a lot of corrections. A lot of times when you have a spring game, the coaches go right on the road on Monday for spring recruiting. To have this week of time lapse in between is really a positive for us."
The players will meet with the coaches this week for spring evaluations to review both academic and athletic progress. The spring semester ends with final exams the week of May 5.
"We'll go over what we need to work on," said center Antoine Caldwell. "Maybe something physical you need to work on or academics, what you can do to become a better football player on and off the field."
The Crimson team, featuring Caldwell and the first team offense, came out on top in the A-Day Game Saturday by a final score of 24-14. The winning team will get a steak dinner at the training table Tuesday night while the losing team while eat franks and beans.
"Coming in, I wanted to see how well the offensive line was going to gel together after one year under our belt,' said Caldwell. "That came along well. We have a lot of young receivers, but in the scrimmages and especially on Saturday, we had some step up. Mike (McCoy) stepped up and Earl (Alexander) stepped up. We are still striving to become a better offensive unit but I feel like everybody has done a good job in the spring."
One of the great traditions at Alabama surrounding the A-Day Game is the ceremony for the captains to be permanently installed with their hand and cleat prints set in cement at Denny Chimes. Caldwell, Rashad Johnson and Darren Mustin took part in the ceremony on Saturday prior to kickoff and addressed the crowd along with Coach Saban. The majority of the captains in UA history have been seniors, but the Crimson Tide players last year voted Caldwell and Johnson in as permanent captains as juniors. Both will play a major role in leading the 2008 Alabama football team through off-season workouts heading into the fall.
"We had an opportunity to do something great last year," said Johnson. "Once we lost the one game (LSU), everything went downhill. We lost three, four games in a row and we didn't come back and win until the bowl game. I think the way the season ended last year, a lot of guys actually saw what Coach Saban was telling us about finishing and the little things that we need to do. They bought into it and you saw it this spring."