MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The stadium will be full when Alabama A&M and Jackson State take the field in this year’s edition of the Gulf Coast Challenge. Before the game kicks off, there’s a full agenda of events beginning Wednesday. Ladd-Peebles Stadium Manage CJ Drinkard joined us on the Red Couch to talk about the Challenge.

Read the full interview below or watch it in the video above.

Bill: Well, the Gulf Coast Challenge is expected to draw the largest crowd Ladd-Peebles Stadium has ever seen Saturday, according to stadium officials. But the fun doesn’t stop with the game

Jessica: Before Alabama A&M and Jackson State take the field. There are a number of events for fans beginning tomorrow. To tell us all about it here on the Red Couch this morning. We’ve got CJ Drinkard, the Ladd-Peebles Stadium Manager. You have been busy over these last few weeks. What have you done?

CJ Drinkard, Ladd-Peebles Stadium Manager: So we’ve done a lot of renovations over the course of the past couple of weeks. The field has been painted and then we finished that yesterday. So we’re ready to rock and roll.

Jessica: Ready for the game. And leading up to the game, there’s a lot happening.

CJ Drinkard: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure. So you have a team luncheon which I’m going to that’s going to be great. You have a couple of concerts this week at the Civic Center as well as a business seminar. So I’m interested in going to that side day one.

Bill: And of course, the game itself is huge with Coach Prime coming to town.
Yes. Uh, you’re all set for that?

CJ Drinkard: Yes. Uh, you’re all set for that? Yes. So I’m more interested in seeing him in person. I think a lot of people are. Yeah, but just getting to the game, I think we’re going to break record numbers. So far, we sold out tailgating in a couple of days, so just seeing that alone just kind of like woke me up a little bit.
I said, wait a minute, you know, Prime’s really come in. So we got to be ready.

Jessica: And so a lot of people come in, come and do. And so what do people need to know? The fans that are come into the game, what should they expect in terms of crowds and crowd control?

CJ Drinkard: So I would say parking is going to be a big one.
Come early if you’re tailgating, come early to get your spot. If you’re coming to see the game, please come early because I think my parking lot will fill up at 9:30 a.m..

Bill: So this is of course traditionally Ladd-Peebles stadium people all around in the neighborhood the neighborhood around people have opened up their yards and things like that for parking.Uh, not for free, though.

CJ Drinkard: Not for free. So our parking is $25. I’m not sure what people on the outskirts are going to do. But definitely come early, get a good spot so you don’t have to walk far.

Jessica: There’s been a lot of attention on this Gulf Coast challenge this year specifically we talk about it every year. What do you think is driving all the momentum behind it this year? So Prime or is it more than that?

CJ Drinkard: Oh, for sure, because he’s changed football in its totality. You know, a lot of people focus on the HBCU world, but literally he’s changed it everywhere. So, you know, he’s getting a couple of offers, Big D-1 offers for coaching jobs and stuff like that. So I’ve talked to a couple of people who were close to him.
I won’t really say anything like that, but definitely him changing the college world is definitely helping us out.

Bill: Continued good luck and good luck for Saturday’s game. I tell you what is going to be a big deal. I know you know that so well. I’m ready. CJ Drinkard our guest on the Red Couch for Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
We appreciate you being here.

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