Tide finishes best week of practice so far

Alabama Head Football Coach Dennis Franchione said that the Crimson Tide has had the best week of preparation of the year.

Alabama, 3-2 overall and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference action, plays Saturday against Ole Miss in Oxford. Mississippi is 3-1 overall, 1-1 in the SEC. The game will be regionally telecast by Jefferson Pilot with kickoff shortly after 11:30 a.m. CDT.

"It was a good Thursday," said an enthusiastic Franchione following Bama's workout. The Tide worked outside, even though a rain began to fall in the final 15 minutes of the two-hour practice. "It was the best complete week of practice so far."

Following Wednesday's practice, Franchione had said that the Tuesday and Wednesday workouts had been comparable to those of the previous week, and he said he hoped that the Tide would follow up with a good Thursday workout. The team responded.

"It was a good day," he said. "We had good focus. It was very clean. And I'm very pleased."

There is a chance of rain during Saturday's game. Franchione said, "There's nothing we can do about the weather. We'd all like to play in good conditions, but at 11:30 Saturday we'll start playing to declare a winner. Our game preparation is our only concern. We can't worry about other things."

Franchione said that if it is actually raining during the game, it would not be an advantage to a team in the passing game. "I don't know of any quarterback who likes to throw the ball when it is raining," he said. But, he said, "If it rains, and then it quits, and the field is wet, then it could be a little advantage because the receiver knows where he is going and the defensive backs don't."

Ole Miss has been more effective as a passing team than Alabama. The Rebels, led by quarterback Eli Manning, have averaged 276.3 yards passing per game, which ranks fourth in the SEC and 23rd in the nation. Alabama has averaged 203.8 yards per game passing, which is seventh in the league and 62nd in the nation. The teams are very close in total offense, Alabama averaging 433.6 yards per game, Ole Miss 431.5 yards per game.

Franchione said he did not expect any changes in this week's starting Alabama lineup. Bama will have a short workout in Tuscaloosa Friday afternoon before heading to Mississippi.

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