Ray Hudson Reinstated

Alabama's football team wound up most of its preparation for Saturday's game at Auburn on Thursday with a workout primarily (and, some might say, appropriately) in what is called "The Barn." The practice was held in Alabama's indoor practice facility. Practices in the facility this week have included the noise factor, crowd noise and music piped in to acclimate the team to a hostile environment.

The Tide will have a brief workout in Tuscaloosa Friday, then go to Montgomery to spend Friday night before going to Auburn Saturday. Alabama will challenge Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium beginning at 6:45 p.m. CST Saturday with national television coverage by the cable sports network ESPN. Bama is 4-7 overall and 2-5 in Southeastern Conference play, while Auburn is 6-5 overall, 4-3 in league games.

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula announced that Ray Hudson is expected to play against Auburn. Hudson, a back-up tailback, missed last week's game after being arrested and charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana, a misdemeanor offense if he is found guilty. Shula said, "He's going to dress out and he will play, and far as any additional discipline goes, like I said before, we're going to handle that in-house and won't announce it."

The Tide head coach expects to have a couple of other regulars back for the Auburn game. He said that tight end Clint Johnston, who has been out with a "stinger," a pinched nerve in his neck area, "has felt good this week and has practice. He looks good."

Shula said that offensive guard Dennis Alexander, who missed all but a few plays last week and all of the previous week, would be back in action. Shula said he didn't know if Alexander or Danny Martz would start, but said they would split time at right guard.

Although there are still some out (tight end David Cavan and left tackle Wesley Britt), Shula said the team was probably about as healthy as could be expected going into the 12th game of the season.

Shula was pleased with Thursday's work. "I thought practice went well," he said. "We got the crowd noise involved and we're picking up some extra reps on a couple of things where we needed work. Now we need to focus on the little things. It's going to be an incredible atmosphere down there and we've got to work to get off to a good start and really concentrate on the things you sometimes take for granted."

Shula said Bama's attitude "has been great. It starts with the seniors." He said he had avoided telling the team any war stories of his days quarterbacking Alabama against Auburn. "I try to avoid that," he said. "I probably talk too much, telling them about how we did things and how tough our practices were."

But the team did get to hear from a former Alabama quarterback this week. Shula said Joe Namath, the Alabama star of the 1960s who went on to NFL greatness, "was in town and so he talked to the team. That's pretty neat for a player–or a coach–to hear Joe Namath talking about what Alabama football has meant to him."

Shula announced the captains for Saturday's game: Charles Jones (defense), Shaud Williams (offense), and Lance Taylor (special teams).

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