Hudson Likely Faces Discipline

As if Mike Shula didn't have enough problems as a first year head coach leading a team that has been weakened by NCAA sanctions and preparing for one of the nation's finest football teams, on Wednesday it was disclosed that back-up tailback Ray Hudson had been arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. The arrest was reported by The Tuscaloosa News late Wednesday.

Following Wednesday's Alabama practice Coach Mike Shula said that Ray Hudson had practiced and that he was still a member of the team, but that Hudson could be subject to disciplinary action. "We'll find out all the details, then handle it like all violations of team policy if warranted," Shula said. "And we'll do what we can to help him, too. We have policies and if players break those policies we have procedures. It could affect playing time."

Shula said he tries to have relatively few rules–"Be in the right place, do the right thing, say the right thing."

The coach said, "In football you have rules and you have to have discipline."

Shula said the situation "takes away from our preparation. We're about to play the third-ranked team in the nation and we have to have focus." He did say that Bama's Wednesday practice was a good one.

Alabama, 4-6 overall and 2-4 in Southeastern Conference games, hosts nationally third-ranked LSU (8-1, 4-1 SEC) at 6:45 p.m. CST Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be nationally-telecast by ESPN.

Shula said that if Hudson doesn't play Saturday that Shaud Williams would be backed up by redshirt freshman Kenneth Darby and that starting fullback Tim Castille, who saw a little playing time at tailback last week, would be available. He said that Darby, who missed games with shoulder and rib injuries this year and had only one run in his return to action in last week's 38-0 win over Mississippi State, "felt as good as he';s felt in the last three weeks. If Ray doesn't play, Kenneth will play a lot." He said that Castille might not practice at tailback this week, but that he would "cover his assignments in meetings, at least."

The Tuscaloosa News report said that Hudson's apartment was searched a week ago by members of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force. Hudson was there and a small amount of marijuana, described as indicating personal use, was found. Hudson was released on $1,000 bond.

Hudson, a junior, had one of his best games in last week's win over Mississippi State. He had 12 rushes for 79 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per carry, with a long run of 12 yards.

Earlier this year back-up quarterback Brandon Avalos was dismissed from the team for the remainder of the season for violation of an undisclosed team rule.

On the "good news" front, Shula said that first team offensive guard Dennis Alexander and back-up outside linebacker Juwan Garth, both of whom missed last week's game with injuries, "both practiced. I'm not sure if they are 100 per cent, but I'd b e surprised if they didn't play Saturday."

He said the status of tight end Clint Johnston, who was held out of last week's game with a "stinger," involving a pinched nerve in the neck area, was still not known. Tight end has been an injury-prone position this year. Last week the Tide lost starter David Cavan with a knee injury. Donald Clarke is projected to start Saturday.

Asked if Alabama might be "scaling back" on contact work late in the season, Shula said, "We might scale back a little bit, but if we're going to go a little shorter, we have to make sure we're intense. If we're not, we go longer."

Wednesday's practice lasted about two hours with players in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.


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