Nearly four months removed from the 2017 national championship, its fifth of the Saban era, the University of Alabama football team took to the gridiron for its sixth practice of the spring. The day included a two-hour work session at Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.
The Tide will return to practice on Thursday before holding its first scrimmage of the spring this Saturday.
Spring practice will culminate on April 21 with the annual Golden Flake A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. CST., and the game will air on ESPN. Adnan Virk, Joey Galloway, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe will be the announcers.
The first spring practice game at Alabama was held on March 30, 1946, and the tradition has continued unimpeded for the last 72 years. Three years– 1946, 1987, and 1988– the game was held at Legion Field in Birmingham. In the decade of the 2000s, A-Day game attendance averaged around 30,000, but since Nick Saban became the head coach at Alabama in 2007, a total of 884,070 fans have attended A-Day– an average of 80,370 per year. The highest attendance on record was in 2011, when 92,310 filled the stadium.
Under Saban, the Crimson Tide program has become a revolving door for pro talent. Alabama in 2018 will be looking to replace the following players who have declared for the NFL Draft: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da’Ron Payne, Calvin Ridley, Ronnie Harrison, Bo Scarbrough, Levi Wallace, and Rashaan Evans. The Draft will be held from April 26-28.
Alabama will return 10 starters and a number of key players who saw significant action in 2017. The narrative surrounding the quarterback position will be the storyline of the spring and summer, but don’t expect Saban to become too wrapped up in a Jalen Hurts-Tua Tagovailoa saga. Regardless of who starts, Alabama has the rare “problem” of having two talented players at quarterback.
Though the Crimson Tide have won 5 national championships over the last 9 seasons, the Alabama faithful is far from complacent.
Another national championship is again the talk of the spring. H&A
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Photos courtesy University of Alabama Athletics.