Mock Game Is Next

Alabama's football team has been practicing for over two weeks, and the Crimson Tide players are probably ready for a game and probably in need of some time off. They are going to get something of a game, and some much-needed rest in the next few days.

The Crimson Tide was out in full gear for something under two hours Thursday. On Friday Bama will go to Bryant-Denny Stadium. Unlike three previous trips to the stadium, it will not be for a scrimmage. Alabama will have a mock game Friday.

The Tide players will have an off-day Saturday, which is a week from the season-opener. Alabama will host Utah State at 6 p.m. CDT Saturday, September 4.

Alabama will begin its game-week preparation with a workout Sunday. The Tide will be off Monday (NCAA rules mandate that players be given one day off each week), then resume practice Tuesday.

Bama Coach Mike Shula said, "We had a little shorter practice today and the tempo was much better. We did some of the same things as Wednesday, introducing them to Utah State."

He said, "The guys understand how we have to practice. We have to be smart and we have to work hard without wasting time."

Shula said the purpose of the mock game, which as all practices now will be closed, is to expose Tide players to "as many situations as we can put a team through, including special teams. There will be work on substitutions in all three areas. It will start with a coin toss. The coaches will be using headphones with the press box coaches in the press box."

Shula said the exercise would be an abbreviation of a game. "We'll just have a few plays a quarter, then switch sides like we would in a real game," he said. The emphasis will be on situations in which a team doesn't get enough work in normal practices.

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who suffered a sprained ankle in a scrimmage last Saturday, continues to rehabilitate. "He's about the same, although he was running a little bit," Shula said. "He's the one to watch."

The coach said that tight end David Cavan, who has been held out of much practice in order to make sure he's healthy for the opening game, "got more work" Thursday. Strong safety Charlie Peprah, who came back this week from a hamstring pull, "looked better," Shula said. The coach said that wide receiver Tyrone Prothro, who has a bruised leg, was given some rest and would probably not take part in the mock game. Cornerback Travis Robinson, who suffered a knee sprain, will not work again until next week.

And the big question?

"We still don't have an announcement on the back-up quarterback," Shula said. "When we do I'll lead off (the daily post-practice press conference) with it."

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