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April 15, 2010

It'll be best against best during A-Day

TUSCALOOSA _ Defensive end Marcell Dareus has a message for the University of Alabama offense: He likes his steak "medium rare."

That's in regards to Saturday's A-Day Game, when the Crimson Tide will hold its 15th and final workout of the spring. Per Nick Saban tradition, the winning team gets to eat steak at a special celebratory meal, while the losing side only has beans.

Of course, the head coach gets a prime cut either way.

"I think this is a record-setting day for me in the number of speeches anyone can ever give in one day," he said with a smile. "I certainly look forward to it every year."

The format will be the same as last year, the first-unit offense will play for the Crimson side and face the first-unit defense. Subsequently, the second-unit offense will head the White team and face the second-unit defense.

Saban warned, though, that some players may have been placed on a certain team in order to get more reps.

"There's about three ways we can do that," he said. "The best against the best, which is not a very competitive game; you can have a draft which I've always kind of liked and done in the past; but I thought last year we did it this way for the development of our offense.

"This year we're going to do it so our defense has a chance to play together to develop a defense that has a lot of new faces and those guys get some experience playing together."

Compared to the starting lineup in the BCS National Championship game just three-plus months ago, Alabama will have ten new players on the first unit, everyone except safety Mark Barron. Because the Tide came out in a nickel formation linebacker Nico Johnson didn't start against Texas -- and besides he'll be on the White team, in part due to sustaining a sprained knee earlier this spring.

In contrast, the first-unit offense will only have three new faces including tight end Michael Williams and left guard Chance Warmack (although David Ross will fill in for injured center William Vlachos). The third will be in the scrimmage's high-profile matchup, right tackle D.J. Fluker, who will square off against Dareus.

"I like to go against competition and our defensive backs or defense as a whole we really need the competition," Dareus said about the format. "We want to do this way so the best can go against the best."

Dareus had nine sacks and 18 tackles in the first two scrimmages this spring, prompting a teammate to recently call him almost unblockable.

Fluker is listed as 6-foot-6, 340 pounds, and entered college wearing a size 22 shoe.

"He's developing into a really good offensive lineman," Dareus said of Fluker. "He's aggressive he gets after it. He's really improved."

Another matchup fans will be watching is how well the new cornerbacks fare against Alabama's experienced receiving corps, especially Julio Jones. He'll primarily face his friend B.J. Scott, and occasionally Dre Kirkpatrick.

Don't think for a second he'll go easy on them, and not just because ESPN will be broadcasting from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"There's steak on the line" said Jones who had beans after his first two A-Days.

Incidentally, he prefers his steak "medium well."

CRIMSON
2 Tana Patrick LB
4 Marquis Maze WR
8 Julio Jones WR
9 Phelon Jones DB
10 John Fulton DB
10 J.B. Kern LB
12 Greg McElroy QB
14 Andrew Davidson DB
14 Phillip Sims QB
15 Darius Hanks WR
15 Mark Holt DB
17 Tyler Maddox DB
18 Rod Woodson DB
19 Jonathan Atchison LB
22 Mark Ingram RB
24 Nathan McAlister WR
26 Nick Tinker RB
28 DeMarcus Milliner DB
31 Kelly Johnson DS
31 John Baites TE
32 David Blalock DL
34 Jeramie Griffin RB
34 Hunter Bush DB
35 Nico Johnson LB
37 Hardie Buck WR
38 Levi Cook DB
40 DeMarcus DuBose LB
42 Eddie Lacy RB
45 Kolby Taylor PK
45 Jalston Fowler LB
46 Wesley Neighbors DB
47 Ed Stinson LB
48 Rowdy Harrell LB
49 Ranzell Watkins DB
50 Andrew Schieffer LB
51 Michael DeJohn LB
53 Anthony Orr DL
54 Glenn Harbin LB
55 Chavis Williams LB
60 David Williams OL
63 Kellen Williams OL
64 Kerry Murphy DL
65 Chance Warmack OL
68 Taylor Pharr OL
69 Spencer Whitfield DS
73 William Vlachos OL
74 David Ross OL
75 Barrett Jones OL
76 D.J. Fluker OL
77 James Carpenter OL
81 Kendall Kelly WR/DB
82 Earl Alexander WR
85 Preston Dial TE
89 Michael Williams TE
90 Jeremy Shelley PK
90 Milton Talbert LB
92 Damion Square DL
92 Jason Walter P
93 Chris Bonds DL
93 Jay Benson P
94 Darrington Sentimore DL
94 Parker Stinnett PK
95 Brandon Lewis DL
95 Colin Gallagher PK
97 Brandon Moore DL
97 Sam Buckingham P
Coaches: Jim McElwain Burton Burns Bo Davis Jeremy Pruitt

WHITE
1 B.J. Scott DB
2 Star Jackson QB
3 Trent Richardson RB
4 Mark Barron DB
5 Jerrell Harris LB
6 Demetrius Goode RB
7 Kenny Bell WR
9 Nick Williams WR
10 A.J. McCarron QB
11 Brandon Gibson WR
13 Rob Ezell WR
16 Michael Adams WR
17 Brad Smelley TE
18 Morgan Ogilvie QB
19 Roland James WR
20 Nate Carlson TE
21 Ben Howell RB
21 Dre Kirkpatrick DB
23 Robby Green DB
23 Craig Dee RB
29 Will Lowery DB
30 Dont'a Hightower LB
33 Mike Marrow TE
36 Chris Jordan LB
37 Robert Lester DB
38 Petey Smith LB
39 Kyle Pennington DB
41 Courtney Upshaw LB
43 Cade Foster PK
43 Taylor Conant WR
46 William Strickland WR
47 Logan Thomas WR
51 Carson Tinker DS
52 Alfred McCullough OL
54 Russell Raines OL
56 William Ming DL
57 Marcell Dareus DL
57 Aaron Joiner OL
58 Nick Gentry DL
61 Anthony Steen OL
66 Brian Motley OL
67 John Michael Boswell OL
71 Allen Skelton OL
72 Tyler Love OL
78 Chad Lindsay OL
79 Austin Shepherd OL
83 Kevin Norwood WR
86 Undra Billingsley DL
87 Drew Bullard LB
87 Chris Underwood TE
88 Michael Bowman WR
91 Alex Watkins LB
94 Zach Goehler P
96 Luther Davis DL
99 Josh Chapman DL
Coaches: Kirby Smart Sal Sunseri Curt Cignetti Joe Pendry Bobby Williams


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