Off-week workouts continue

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team went through another light workout Wednesday afternoon, enjoying its only open week of the 2003 season.

The Crimson Tide worked in full pads for about 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon, with most of the work going to the reserves and younger players.

"Practice went well," Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said afterwards. "It was shorter, faster paced. We spent less time in between plays. Some of the guys that hadn't had that many reps, we gave more snaps versus some of the older guys."

Shula explained that he was backing off this week on the starters, giving their bodies time to rest and recuperate. "We're resting most of the older guys, and we'll do that again Thursday," he said. "When I say that, they're still conditioning and doing those type things. They're just not hitting."

The Crimson Tide also hosted Parents Day and A-Club Day at practice on Wednesday, giving the parents of players and former lettermen a chance to watch the team practice.

"We had Parents Day and A-Club Day," Shula said. "I'm not sure of the count, but it looked like several hundred were lining the practice fields. We decided to close practice this year, and to do that we had to close it to everybody. We wanted to hold this day earlier, but this turned out to be the best time. I'm going to spend some time with (the parents) after practice."

Due to the circumstances of his hiring last spring, Shula nor his staff have had many opportunities to get to know the parents. "It's important for me to get to know as many of them as possible," Shula explained. "Probably the biggest negative of the situation we were put in was not getting a chance to get to know not just all the players but obviously their parents.

"I think that's important. We're responsible for their sons."

Alabama will practice again on Thursday from 2:15 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. and then take two days off (Friday and Saturday) as the open date winds down.

"We'll have one more day on Thursday," Shula said. "We'll move everything up and be on the field at 2:15. It'll be another abbreviated practice, get them on and off. Sunday night we'll practice, but our meetings won't start until 5:30. It'll give guys a little longer if they want to go home after practices and get back on Sunday."

The team will be given some extra time Sunday to get back from their various trips, but once the team meetings and practices start, from that point on it will be a normal game-week preparation.

"Sunday will be dedicated to Mississippi State," Shula said. "Even though we're doing some things this week, we're practicing mostly against ourselves scheme-wise. Sunday will be our preliminary game-plan practice."

Alabama's next game is Saturday, Nov. 8 at Mississippi State. The game will be televised regionally by Jefferson Pilot Sports beginning at 11:30 a.m. (CT) from Scott Field.

NOTE: Barry Allen of UA Media Relations contributed significantly to this report.

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