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.
"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