With players looking forward to a free weekend, yesterday's workout started more slowly than Shula would have liked. He explained, "We had a little bit of a slow start Thursday, and we talked to them about finishing strong. Or else...
"Which is natural, for guys looking to get on the road. Sometimes you get a day like today and the emotions aren't there. We started slowly, but we finished with a good focus. They were anxious to get out of here.
The Crimson Tide will return to practice on Sunday, November 2 at 7 p.m. and conduct a full-scale practice with detail on the Mississippi State game plan. "The main thing is everyone comes back with a great mindset," Shula said. "Get ready to go for Mississippi State. I remember that game always is tough, because the schools are so close to each other."
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. (CST) from Scott Field.
With the extra practice time, Alabama worked on some things that hadn't come up since fall camp.
Shula commented, "The team's recall was good. We threw some stuff at them they haven't seen in awhile. Sometimes when you get into a bye week and do some things they haven't seen since fall camp, because maybe some of those things didn't work well against the teams you've played. We brought some things back this week. Some of the younger guys were pretty good. Their recall was good."
Classes permitting, the Tide players have Friday and Saturday off to travel and spend time away. "I told them to be careful traveling," Shula said of his post-practice comments. "Spend time with their families. Get away, and come back with a fresh mindset to go win. We've got four games left, and the old cliche' of taking them one game at a time is true.
"We've all been through a lot. We've been through some games we'll never forget. Now let's go win some games."
The Tide coaches rested their starters this week, holding them out of many of the football drills, though they participated fully in conditioning work. That gave younger players a chance to show out.
"I found out more about some guys in general," Shula said. "Hopefully we can get some of them into the games. Not guys we're planning on redshirting, but some of the guys we've been wanting to get in.
"It makes you feel good about their chances next year to help us be a better team."
Shula mentioned fullback Le'Ron McClain and receiver Tyrone Prothro as young players that impressed. "Tyrone just continues to stand out," Shula said. "He's playing more, and he got a lot of reps."
The off week will afford a long weekend for Bama's players, but Shula's time will be consumed by work and family obligations.
"I'll be in town," he revealed. "I'm going to finish some work tomorrow and take Saturday off; then we're back Sunday. We're still trying to get our house finished. It'll be a family day."