cup of coffee

Well, another A-Day is in the books, and another game where “we have more questions than answers” will be analyzed to the point of ridiculous speculation. I can’t remember an A-Day where I came away feeling good. Afterall, you’ve heard the cliches:

If the offense scores a lot of points, does it mean we have a good offense or the defense is bad? What I do know is the last two A-Days looked a lot like today’s: a little sloppy, with tons of talent all over the field. In both of the seasons following, Alabama won the BCS National Championship.

What Alabama has is five top five recruiting classes…three of those considered to be tops in the country…stacked one on top of the other, suited up, and running basic looks in front another huge crowd.

A-Day Game Attendance
And yes, the crowd was huge. Compare it to the 28,000 announced at LSU’s spring game, and it’s huge.

The Birmingham News’ Don Kausler, Jr. wants to point out that Saturday’s attendance was the second lowest in the Nick Saban era. But only because Kausler is a douche who would do an investigative story on his mother if it’d pay his bills.

I’m sorry, and some may not want to hear this, but when you win three out of the last four BCS National Championships, a scrimmage game doesn’t have the same appeal. Is that complacency? Probably so to some degree. But I can assure you, Georgia would’ve taken it.

The team that was five yards shy of playing for (and probably winning) the national championship managed just 45,113 at their spring game…over 5,000 less than Kentucky. Freaking Kentucky. Even with Manziel mania, Texas A&M only gathered 45,212. The leader, up until Saturday was Nebraska, with 60,174.

Line those numbers beside one another and 78,315 has a different ring to it. Of course the same newspaper wants to be sure we know that Auburn managed 83,401. More on that in a minute.

Any program in the country not saying goodbye to their butt paper trees would take Bama’s 2013 spring game crowd.

Maybe if Alabama spurns ESPN2’s high definition broadcast and goes with College Sports South (CSS) to carry the game, like Auburn…where it looks like you’re watching the game through a screen door…more folks will trickle into Bryant-Denny. But just for analysis, let’s take Bama’s A-Day attendance year-by-year, and examine what was really happening.

2007: 92,138 – the 2nd largest, fresh off Saban’s hiring, 1st spring, and years of drought
2008: 78,200 – the misery of the ’07 A-Day game crowd control still fresh in the minds of many
2009: 84,050 – a healthy crowd following a season of coming up just short in the SECCG
2010: 91,312 – at the time the 2nd highest crowd following Saban’s 1st BCS championship
2011: 92,310 – the largest crowd, following the misery of watching AU cheat their way to the top
2012: 78,536 – the 3rd lowest crowd, weeks removed from owning LSU in the Superdome
2013: 78,315 – the 2nd lowest crowd, weeks removed from Saban’s third title in six years

So what does Saturday’s “low attendance” mean?

Jack squat.

Every school in America…including Michigan with 18,000 showing for their game…would take our totals. And as the last two seasons have shown, Bama will be in the mix for another title with or without spring game attendance records.

So why was Auburn’s attendance so high?
Are you kidding me? Have you been living in a cave? Auburn is and has always been a cult. Cult leaders like Navid Nousel spew propaganda that the throngs of Aubies can’t help but slurp up with two straws. Stuff like:

“There’s more to Auburn than two oak trees, revered and sturdy as they are,” David Housel said. “These oak trees are but an outward visible symbol of the Auburn heart. … This is a day of celebration and remembrance.”

So combine the last opportunity to heave anus paper into the two trees that they themselves have been killing for years with the chance to cheer on a new coach on the scene that they believe…no, hope…no, desperately pray…is their savior from the Sabanized Auburn they now have to endure, and you have yourselves a crowd.

And good for them. At $5 a head, maybe they can put the proceeds with the $50,000 “Tide For Toomer’s” handed them…money that nobody knows what became of it. It’s still a mystery to me that Auburn can’t just bring in new trees. Heck, Augusta National does it every year for the Master’s.

Or heck, make some realistic looking fake ones. My family has climbed around in the “Swiss Family Robinson” tree at Disneyworld since I was a kid. That tree has stood the test of time…and would stand the test of Spike 80DF as well. But, I digress.

I think this would be a good new design for Toomer’s Corner because you could climb up into it to throw the Charmin even higher.

Someone said, if it was the last time we could see Denny Chimes, or the Bryant Museum, or Nick Saban, we’d pile in Bryant-Denny again too. But as I’ve already pointed out, we did.

If it’s one thing Auburn is good at, it’s doing something once and thinking they’ve arrived. Let’s check that attendance next spring when the Gus bus misses the bowl season again in 2013.

Speaking of Gus…
Can we remind ourselves something about ole Gus? Auburn fans love to think that the husband of crazy Kristi is their savior. You know, the man that has been a college head coach for only one year.

But is it worthy to note that following that magical 2010 season, when their defense gave up a mind-boggling 337 total points and was rescued by arguably the most dominant SEC quarterback to ever play the game, Gus returned the next season as offensive coordinator? The 2011 results?

7 wins, 5 losses, and a meaningless bowl win over an unranked opponent.

And, the season before Cameron Newton’s one and done?

7 wins, 5 losses, and a meaningless bowl win over an unranked opponent.

Auburn’s high school head coach

Show me something Gus and I’ll believe. Until then, you’re a high school coach running a dipsy-doo, trickeroo offense, and one heck of an opportunist.

So what about the game itself?
Bama is strong at the skill positions…possibly stronger than ever in history. When you can flirt with moving a Christion Jones from receiver to corner, you are freakishly deep at that position.

The quarterbacks, including AJ, made some sloppy mistakes, but at times looked brilliant. I was personally impressed with the delivery of freshman Luke Del Rio. Alec Morris also put some passes on the money, including dropping one on a dime over the linebackers into the hands of a sprinting DeAndrew White. Coach Saban seems encouraged by Blake Sims, though he didn’t have his best outting on Saturday.

On the offensive line, there was solid play across the board. But then again, it’s extremely hard to tell anything from a spring game because they aren’t going to show anything. Said McCarron on his new offensive line:

“We did well. Things are simple [in the spring game]. We don’t do any of our protections that we use in the game, so it’s just ‘base’ everything. It’s almost really like one-on-one type of stuff. I felt like they did a great job up front controlling our big guys, but we’re definitely going to have some work to do in the summer.”

Saban seemed satisfied at least to this point as well:

“We need to continue to try to develop more players at that position but I’m pleased with the progress that that group has made.”

On defense, the safeties look game ready. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looks and plays so similar to Mark Barron you’d think he was still in uniform. Vinnie Sunseri’s pick six illustrated why so many love his tough, gritty style of play, and Landon Collins made everyone in Crimson happy he spurned his mother’s wishes for him to play in Baton Rouge. And all Nick Perry did all day was make play after play after interception after interception.

Corner is another story, but isn’t a tragedy by any means. John Fulton didn’t see action Saturday, and Geno Smith held his own all day. Deion Belue will battle to take the other corner spot, and the position will be filled in summer camp.

The defensive line and linebacking corp are promising. Ryan Anderson to me looks the part, as does Denzel Devall. CJ Mosely was wearing black, so his contact was limited. And starter Trey DePriest is recovering from foot surgery.

But Mosely’s role in this defense suggests that the ever adaptable Nick Saban is already thinking Texas A&M. Bama’s linebacking corp and nickel packages suggest a need to excel in lateral speed and play in space. If this is where college football is going, Saban appears to be ready to meet them there…at least on the defensive side of the ball. All of Bama’s linebackers can run.

Fat officials, come on…
The good part of Saturday was, there were no significant injuries, of any kind. Unless you count play clock operator Doyle Shaw.

In a scary moment, Landon Collins sprinted down the sidelines following an interception, only to be forced out of bounds into the slow to recede Shaw. And if you saw it, you know. Shaw was hammered. As in, two commercial break hammered. Watching in on the DVR when I got home, it was something to behold.

But that brings up this point. Can we please…please…get anyone slow to move and/or react off the sidelines and to safety? Is there a reason why an overweight man in his sixties needs to be on the sidelines to operate a play clock? Won’t a button in the pressbox work as well as one on the sidelines?

If you’ve never been on the sidelines of a college football game, these men in pads are behemoths. The smallest of the small look gargantuan in person. And they run as fast as horses. If you can’t get out of the way, you’re going to get killed.

Thank goodness Mr. Shaw did not, but he could have. For the love, get the fat, old people off the sidelines, or put them in those large sumo suits you see at county fairs.

What Doyle Shaw and other fat officials need to be wearing next time they’re on the sideline.

Look, putting them in this get up protects them, and speeds the game up. Thankfully the man is okay, according to reports. But maybe not next time. Come on, SEC. Lead the way. Do the right thing.


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

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22 Responses to “What does Bama’s low A-Day attendance mean? The answer is in your Sunday Cup of Coffee.” Subscribe

  1. dbf April 21, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    As long as 65,000 plus fans continue to show up is plenty.
    But even if only 20 to 30 thousand were coming out,
    I don’t believe recruits buy into attendance as much as ppl say.
    If 80,000 had ever come out when Shula was coach,
    he’d a still got the same type recruits.

    This is Much Ado. Too much a doo-doo.

  2. pete4tide April 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Oh, for heaven’s sake, ITK – ban him! He doesn’t make any sense even when he’s not being pointlessly profane.

  3. ITK April 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Opposing views are welcome, and wanted here, and profanity is tolerated. But when those views turn into insane profanity that has no point but to be vile, you’re neither wanted nor needed.

    Adios RG.

  4. BK April 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    don kAUsler is the worst. The absolute worst.

    • ITK April 22, 2013 at 5:54 am #

      If you ever meet him, or sit close to him in a press conference, you come away with the sense that this is a guy you wouldn’t trust with your grocery list let alone Intel about your program. A sleaze.

      • BK April 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

        Never seen a writer that seems to have so much disdain for the subject their covering and gleefully points out the negative, but then again you can’t spell kausler without au.

        • BK April 22, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

          or I should say they’re covering

        • ITK April 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

          Bingo. I’ve met the man, and I wouldn’t turn my back on him.

  5. The Conduit April 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    I can only speculate the weather had anything to do with it, but completely ignoring the weather being an issue seems unfair, maybe irresponsible, if anyone is trying to suggest the attendance being low is as simple as fan complacency. The day before the game there were tornado watches and warnings and non-stop rain across the southeast. I know some people that didn’t make the trip because of the weather alone.

    Don’t forget, the big tornado hit Tuscaloosa only a few days after A-Day that year. The weather on A-Day that year was about as perfect as it was this year.

    But the day before there was a tornado. Classes were cancelled. Campus tours were cancelled. I holed up under the stadium (under 100,000 tons of steel and concrete is probably the safest place in the state) in the new welcome area, meanwhile the other side of Tuscaloosa was hit by a tornado. It was the worst tornado I had seen in Tuscaloosa, and it was all less than 24 hours before A-Day, and only a few days before the tornado that ripped Tuscaloosa in half.

    Respect the trees, that’s fine. But ignoring the way Alabama fans care about (and respect) the weather reminds me of how short peoples’ memories can be outside of Tuscaloosa.

    Besides, it’s not like spring games aren’t broadcast on national television in high-definition.

    Well, maybe not for every school. Or most schools, actually. All I know is it’s another problem, as an Alabama fan, I can’t relate to anymore.

    Roll Tide.

  6. RC April 21, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    I can care less those Auburn bastards no longer have a tree they can roll when an iconic figure in this state dies

    • The Conduit April 22, 2013 at 8:45 am #

      Isn’t that the point?

      Doesn’t that mean they literally had more fans at a free scrimmage game than they were able to get for many regular season home games last year? That’s something to brag about?

      Only if you have Little Brother Syndrome.

      I live halfway between Clemson and South Carolina’s campuses. I’ve been trying to find anyone that went, or knew they happened. I’m not saying that makes their programs or fans bad, but good grief, football is just more important to Alabama fans, I think it’s that simple. Having tornado warnings and watches the day before, plus a sports event bombing the same week, and combined with a nationally-broadcast hi-def telecast of our spring practice game, I don’t think the numbers are low. Hell, the numbers almost seem high when you think about it. And when you compare the numbers to everyone else, it’s staggering. I still don’t understand why so many passionate football fans I know (fans of other programs) don’t go to or even know about a free football game with nothing but fans of the same team.

      When Bryant Denny Stadium looks like this for a regular season home game, let me know; http://media.al.com/sports_impact/photo/11850593-large.jpg

      • ITK April 22, 2013 at 9:53 am #

        Auburn charges $5 a head for their spring game. Possibly a good move next season once the ‘Gus bus’ blows a tire by early October.

        • The Conduit April 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

          Are you serious? They charge for their spring scrimmage?

          I guess that’s another one I can’t relate to.

          Roll Tide.

  7. phylomatic April 21, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Some of you know that the open practice and A-Day are the best games to take your sub 5 year old kid, which is what we did. If you know this then you know that there are some essentials to making your life easier like juice, an extra change of clothes (possibly diapers), a snack, some sort of entertainment, like a favorite book, and some wet-wipes. You don’t want to carry this crap in your pockets. We almost gave up going in because my wife had what amounted to a paper sack with two pull-strings to carry all this crap around. It was a back-pack in the technical sense but they wouldn’t even let us take all the crap out and shove the bag into our back pocket.

    We ended up rolling the sippy cup and snack dish in the bag and shoving it under a concrete barrier (all the while nodding at the officer with the bomb sniffing dog that walked by just as I was planting my scooby-doo cereal and apple juice). Having felt like I avoided federal prosecution we finally made it into the stadium. Had the kid still been in diapers we wouldn’t of had a choice but to leave. I know I saw a couple of families just give up and leave and it wouldn’t surprise me if 1 to 2 thousand didn’t make it in or decided not to go in because of this.

    I’m not arguing whether or not the last minute decision on security for this game was right or wrong, I certainly have my opinion on the matter, especially since I couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation for how I could make a bomb out of thin air and shove it into my paper sack with pull strings after allowing the people at the gate to search it. I’m just saying this certain circumstance possibly has some bearing on the final number.

    • ITK April 22, 2013 at 5:48 am #

      Very interesting. Man do I remember those days. Having to ‘think up’ entertainment for a three hour stretch for a child so I can check out the new DB’s or left tackle.

      You may have a point on how the security affected the total. When you get past that stage in life you forget about things like that.

    • # 1 al. fan April 22, 2013 at 9:41 am #

      The numbers for us are ok, as for Awwbuns numbers well if it makes them worthy then that’s ok too. The truth will come out in the fall.RTR

    • # 1 al. fan April 22, 2013 at 9:48 am #

      I’m sorry about the problem you had at the Stadium, and I certainly understand the aggravations you had. But please try to understand the reasons for all of it, now I know it won’t make you feel anybetter, but please try to remember that if security makes just one bad judgement call what do you think the results would be. I know it won’t make you fell any better but this is just part of the what our society has become…… RTR

      • ITK April 22, 2013 at 9:50 am #

        This is so true. How easy it is to do what those two nutjobs did in Boston. We should all remember that it’s these freaks that make our lives harder, not stiffer security measures.

        I for one am giddy every time it’s a hassle to board an airplane.

  8. Jakeleg Jake April 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Kausler is cut from the same slimey cloth that Isadore Gouldberg of al.com is. They both climbed out of the same mosh pit…2 real turds without a speck of ethics. They both need the hell knocked out of them…

    • BK April 22, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

      Never had a problem with Gould when he was a Bama beat writer, but since he took over as the college sports editor at al.com, wow, has that website become a cesspool. Nothing more than baiting the message board trolls and reporting stories from message boards. Frankly, its kind of sad.

  9. Hate Smurf Coach May 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    Maybe some AU fans can take a dump on the Saban statue. Since the statue is so short we will have to bend our knees all the way down. That would probably set off a redneck Jihad spring.

    Speaking of terrorists, the only terrorists in the news besides the Chechnians have been the tea bagging, tree poisoning sidewalk Alabama fans.

    Hope your team looses all your games. It’ll be fun watching Spanky cursing and hitting players.

  10. dbf April 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    I hate to think what you think of the good Auburn folks who
    are pro-Obama, but that;s neither here nor there.
    On Topic: Auburn’s only had one crowd larger than the one Bama had yesterday. AND that was to see trees, not players, OR coaches, for that matter.

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