June 17, 2024

Washington averaged more fans than any other school in the Pac 12 last season, yet Kalen DeBoer’s first spring game at Alabama still drew more fans than any home game he coached for the Huskies.

A reported 72,358 Crimson Tide fans poured into Bryant-Denny Stadium to get a first look at DeBoer as the Alabama head coach and what his new system would bring. For DeBoer it was one of the first times that the magnitude of his new role really sunk in.

I think today was the day where it really felt… seeing the guys come down the Walk of Champions, just seeing that and feeling the excitement and energy of what it would be on a Saturday, that was a lot of fun, DeBoer said after A-Day. The energy and excitement leading up to the spring game was something that kind of hit me today.

A quick search on social media will show the sparse crowd that was in attendance for DeBoer’s spring game last year at Washington.

But he picked up on the passion of Alabama fans for Crimson Tide football from the moment he landed in Tuscaloosa, and there were thousands of fans waiting at the airport.

Being inside Bryant-Denny Stadium with a crowd brought it to a new level. He really had to soak in the moment as the team came out of the tunnel for the first time.

“Just enjoying that moment and trying to make sure the guys did, too, DeBoer said. You try to take it in when you emphasize to the guys, ‘Hey, enjoy this moment.

You guys worked hard for this.’ For a lot of these guys, it was their first spring game as well, their first A-Day for a lot of freshmen and some transfers. I made sure they relished this day, and when you say those things, you do it yourself as well.”

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