The Auburn and Alabama crowds did not disappoint at the ‘Meet the Players’ event the night of Friday, January 24. There were fans as far as the eye can see at the Mobile Convention center, braving the elements to greet their favorite Tide and Tiger stars.
Many of the Senior Bowl players say they got something out of giving back.
“It’s very humbling,” said Bama wide receiver Kevin Norwood. “It’s all Bama fans right here. This is all the things that come with going to the University of Alabama.”
“Yeah, it’s very humbling,” Auburn cornerback Chris Davis agreed. “This is a team accomplishment. We did this together, and I’m just glad to be a part of this team.”
The two ‘Cody’s’ anchor the kicking game for the South Squad, Parkey from Auburn and Mandell from Bama. As you might guess, things get a little weird at times.
“Our deep snapper this week was trying to figure out how to call us Cody, so he just calls us punter and kicker instead of Cody,” Mandell added. “That’s the easiest way for him to do it.”
FOX10’s Russell Colburn jokingly asked Mandell if while he’s holding for Auburn’s Parkey, does he ever has the urge to pull the ball back on his rival?
“No, we’ve been friends since junior year of high school, so I’ve known him since before the rivalry,” Mandell said.
And as you may guess, Parkey really appreciates that.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Parkey said. “Coming into this, we were good friends, so I kind of expected him to have some money holds for me. He’s had a lot of pressure put on him by the Bama fans to maybe do something like that, but he told me he’s not going to, so thank you Cody Mandell for that.”
Mandell left his seat at the signing table to greet fans and sign autographs in line.
“I always love doing stuff like this, and just watching the fans,” Mandell said. “Their faces brighten up, and it’s always fun.”
“It’s a good opportunity for me to give back to my fans, people that hold us up strong throughout the season,” his teammate Adrian Hubbard agreed. “This year, a lot of people saw how important it was when [Head] Coach [Nick] Saban said, ‘Stay for 60 [minutes].’ We play a lot better when our fans stay, because we know they have our back.”
Only walk-throughs and meet-and-greets were held Friday, but Saturday is all business. And the players are ready.
“I’m just going to go out there and do what I do,” Mandell said. “I can’t expect any more, any less. I have to set a standard like [Head] Coach [Nick] Saban always talks about, you have to set a standard, and I’m just going to go out there and do what I do; there’s nothing more I can do.”
“I’m excited,” said Auburn defensive lineman Dee Ford. “I’m out here with these fans really enjoying it, and all the players and the coaches. I’m just ready to get started, have a good time, and really end the Senior Bowl on a good note.”
The Senior Bowl kicks off at 3 p.m. Saturday, January 25 at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium.