Alabama Football A-Day Rewind: Looking Back on the Crimson Tide’s Spring Game & Captain Ceremony

In case you missed hearing Coach Saban’s press conference or seeing video of the captain’s ceremony, then here are both along with some photographs of the day’s events. We’ll post a few thoughts on the conclusion of Spring Practice during this week, and continue to watch how Alabama players will do in the upcoming draft. On to A-Day:

Click on an image to view a larger version of the image.

On to the video.

First, WIAT has video of the Alabama ceremony honoring captains from last year’s team. The video includes Alabama star Trent Richardson, Dont’a Hightower and Mark Barron. In the video,

“This is something we all dreamed of,” Richardson said of the honor.

“It has been a long four years for me, but I want you to know that I enjoyed every moment of it,” safety Mark Barron said. “I appreciate ya’ll for making it a good ride for me. Thank you. Roll Tide.”

“Just like Trent and Marks said, it has been a good four years,” Dont’a Hightower said. “I want you to know how much we appreciate ya’ll.”

Saban talked about the responsibilities that go with being a team captain.

“Our ability to win the two championships that we’ve won here the past three years have all come down to the kind of leadership we have on the team,” Saban said.

In case you missed what Nick Saban had to say about this spring game here is the official transcript. Player comments follow below Saban’s Q&A:

ALABAMA FOOTBALL – 2012 Golden Flake A-Day Spring Football Game Postgame Quotes (courtesy of UA Media Relations)
Head Coach Nick Saban Opening statement: “One thing that never happens in college football is no one ever has a bad spring and no one ever has a bad spring game. We didn’t have one either. We had a lot of guys who made a lot of improvement this spring.

“We are still focusing on more and more guys knowing what it takes to win and the preparations, ability to adjust, play with poise, execute and do their job. None of that stuff happens by accident. It happens because of the way you prepare and the way you work. We will look and see how many guys have made progress in the regard.

“I think this game today was kind of a final exam for some of the players relative to spring practice. How much you improve, where you are in your development, are you ready to take responsibility for a role on the team. We have a lot of good players that have played, have experience and have proven that they can do that. Every year your team is a different personality. The guys that were leaders last year are gone. New guys have to assume different roles. Sometimes that’s a little uncomfortable because they’ve never had to do it before because there was somebody else there to do it. All those things are the reasons that being a coach in college, where you have seniors graduate every year is always a challenging situation to develop the team chemistry, the positive energy and attitude, getting people committed to doing things the way they need to do them, being responsible for self-determination and doing the kind of work that it takes to assume that responsibility. Everybody has to take ownership for that individually whether it’s leadership, ability to execute, or a new player making a contribution. That’s been the challenge for us this spring and we’ve certainly made some progress toward that.

“We will evaluate this game and see if some other guys can step up and do that. We were pleased with the spring that we had – not satisfied – just pleased. We will continue to work over the summer and hopefully guys will make the commitment to the kind of work they can improve on and be better players in the fall. ”

On Phillip Sims:
“I think Phillip (Sims) did a good job, but Phillip’s not 100 percent. He’s got a strained muscle in his shoulder. It’s limited his practice time, it’s limited his scrimmage time. I thought he looked a little rusty in the beginning, but definitely played better in the third quarter. [He] made some big plays, and that’s good. We’re hoping that he’ll be able to heal up now, be able to give him the rest that he needs from throwing the ball, so that we can get him healed up, and he’ll make the progress in the future that he needs to continue to improve.”

On this team’s potential:
“How good is this team? I don’t know, I think it’s kind of up to this team. I think it’s kind of up to a lot of players on this team, a lot of players that have opportunities that haven’t played much before. We certainly don’t have the maturity as a team that we had a year ago, or that we had three years ago, but there’s certainly enough players on this team that we could develop into a pretty good team. So, I think what you just asked me is up to every individual on this team, in terms of the choices and decisions that they make, in terms of what they do from a commitment standpoint to make themselves better competitors and more consistent performers.”

On Deion Belue and John Fulton:
“Deion has had a really good spring, he’s a really good cover guy. I think sometimes he’s not sure exactly what he’s doing. We definitely need to get him to be a little more physical in run support and some of those things, but I think he’s going to be a good player. John had a good spring. [He’s] starting to show that he’s more confident in what he’s doing. [He] knows what to do out there, and now it’s just a matter of doing it with some kind of consistency, but I didn’t think that he did anything particularly bad today. I know John gave up one big play, [but] he wasn’t in bad position; it was a well-thrown, caught ball. I didn’t see anything glaring from either one of them.”

#3 Vinnie Sunseri, Defensive Back
On what it takes for him to be a leader:
“Right now for me to be a leader, I feel like I just need to play my role. I’ve got a lot of supporting cast around me. I don’t need to go and try to do too much. I’m going to let the people that have earned the right to be leaders lead, and I’ll just follow a little bit behind and learn from these guys.”

On the scoop and score touchdown:
“They just started ripping out the ball and I just thought to myself ‘I’m going back off a little bit so if this ball comes out, I can pick it up.’ It came out, so I just picked it up and scored.”

#42 Adrian Hubbard, Linebacker
On the defensive performance today:
“Our defense executed plays. We played hard. We’ve been trying to focus on finishing and playing hard, which we all know is the Bama work ethic.”

On his performance today:
“It was alright. I haven’t arrived yet. When that’s the problem, I shouldn’t be playing anymore, but I haven’t arrived yet. There’s always room for improvement.”

#75 Barrett Jones, Offensive Lineman
On Lacy being injured:
“We obviously never want Eddie to be out but I think him being out gave us a chance to develop some of the younger guys who might not have gotten as many snaps if not for him being out. That’s turned into a positive.”

On what surprised him about the team during the off season:
“I’ve been really impressed with our defense. The way we’ve had some guys step up, I think. Not necessarily a surprise, but it was good to see that.”

#10 AJ McCarron, Quarterback
On what he is walking away from this game thinking about:
“It was a fun day. Like I said, this game is mainly for the fans. You go out there and you try and make plays and things happen where you probably wouldn’t do them in the game. I mean it’s a scrimmage, at the end of the day it’s for the fans and we just want to kind of make it fun for them and make some crazy plays at the same time that we probably wouldn’t do in a real game. I had fun, like coach always says, ‘Just have fun,’ and I had a lot of fun today. It was just fun joking around with the guys and getting to mess with them.”

On the younger guys like Yeldon and Hart’s importance to the team:
“It’s really important. It doesn’t really matter about the game. It’s basically another practice for us. You basically just want to see consistency. How do they do consistently playing that position and doing their role and playing their role and those guys have done a great job. You couldn’t ask any more from them and like I said as a whole offense we have to keep progressing and we’re going to have some ups and downs right now. We’re learning some new plays and doing some different things but as long as we just come out and get better every day we’ll be fine.”