published Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban expecting competitive A-Day game

Today's A-Day game will culminate spring football practice at Alabama, with the winning team certain to experience the more enjoyable Monday dinner.

"It's not just the steak but the tablecloth and the roses on every table," Alabama coach Nick Saban said this week in a news conference. "It's the waitresses waiting on you. The other side is paper plates and one pot of beans, paper towels for napkins and plastic silverware."

Alabama's eighth spring game under Saban will start this afternoon at 2 p.m. EDT, and it will be televised by ESPNU. The Crimson team will consist of the starting offense and the second-team defense, while the White team will be the second-team offense and the starting defense.

A crowd of at least 78,000 has attended each of Saban's first seven spring games in Tuscaloosa, with 92,138 witnessing his first one in 2007 and a record 92,310 in 2011.

"I look at it as an exhibition game for our players and our team," Saban said. "It's really a first opportunity to create an identity for who you are. It's important to us, and it's important to have great support."

The Crimson roster is headed by quarterback Blake Sims, the tailback tandem of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, and receiver Amari Cooper, who through two scrimmages has 19 catches for 287 yards and three touchdowns. The offensive line will consist of left tackle Cameron Robinson, left guard Arie Kouandjio, center Ryan Kelly, right guard Leon Brown and right tackle Austin Shepherd.

Robinson was rated the nation's top tackle in the 2014 signing class and enrolled early.

"He's done a good job. He really has," Saban said. "He's got a lot of ability, but the learning curve is huge."

Robinson is ahead of redshirt sophomore Brandon Greene, who heads a White team line that will try to protect quarterbacks Cooper Bateman and Alec Morris and provide holes for tailbacks Kenyan Drake and Altee Tenpenny. Drake and Tenpenny missed Thursday's practice for failing to meet classroom responsibilities.

The White team will be led by senior inside linebacker Trey DePriest and contains the junior college defensive-front transfer duo of D.J. Pettway and Jarran Reed.

"Dividing it this way makes for a very competitive game, and that's how we want it to be," Saban said.

Sitting out A-Day due to injuries will be receiver DeAndrew White, defensive lineman Darren Lake and cornerback Eddie Jackson.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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