Saturday, March 29, 2003
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama head football coach Mike Price stressed big plays to his team all spring, and that's what he got Saturday afternoon as the Crimson squad won the annual spring A-Day game, 47-0, at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The scoring for the Crimson team started early and came often led by the arm of rising sophomore Brodie Croyle, who threw for 260 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters of work. Croyle was the winner of the Dixie Howell Memorial Award for the games most outstanding player.
"We made some big plays and put up a lot of points," Croyle said. "Now we are making the right checks and doing the little things right. We are going into the summer stage trying to get timing down and trying to get better for the first game.
Despite a cool day, attendance at the 2003 A-Day game drew an estimated 34,000 fans. Temperature at kickoff was 50 degrees with a 10 mph wind. It got colder as the day went along. The first play from scrimmage resulted in an interception by the Crimson's Charles Jones, which was followed immediately by a 25-yard Croyle-to-Zach Fletcher TD pass just 22 seconds into the game. The Crimson Team's first two drives both came as a result of White turnovers. The drives covered a combined 21 yards in five plays and took 1 minute and 49 seconds.
"First of all, I want to say how much I appreciate everyone coming out and showing their support for the team and the program. We had a great crowd," Price said. "I thought that considering the weather, we looked pretty good in the first half. We looked very crisp offensively and defensively. Defensively, I though Mark Anderson played really well. Cornelius Wortham played well. He had a great read on a screen pass."
Triandos Luke led all receivers hauling in five catches for 71 yards. Zach Fletcher had three receptions for 90 yards while Clint Johnston had three for 47. Shaud Williams was the Tide's leading rusher with eight carries for 67 yards. "On offense, I though Triandos Luke played well, Shaud (Williams) ran really well. We got everyone a chance to play and that was fun," Price said.
On the defensive side of the ball, Antwan Odom recorded four tackles (two for loss), leading the Crimson team, and was awarded the Dwight Stephenson award for MVP lineman. Carlos Andrews, representing the white team, led all tacklers with nine. He also had one pass deflection and an interception which he returned 17 yards. Juwan Garth added six tackles on the day.
"This game helped me get stronger on the field making plays," Garth said. "Overall I was satisfied with the way I played. I had a few minor mistakes but I played fairly well. The team was stacked but it made the White team better. No one likes losing but it helps us see our mistakes more clearly."
Today's game marked the culmination of spring practice for the Tide. The next on-the-field action for the team will come in the heat of August when two-a-day practices begin.