Tide Completes Preparation

The Alabama football team has completed almost all of the preparation for its season-opening game. The Crimson Tide opens the 2004 season Saturday hosting Utah State in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. CDT with Pay Per View coverage on most Alabama cable outlets and through ESPN Gameplan and on satellite packages. Perhaps 1,500 tickets remain for the game.

Alabama will have a walk-through Friday at its Thomas-Drew practice facility. After a meeting, the Tide will be out briefly in the late afternoon before heading to the team hotel and more meetings Friday night and through the day Saturday.

Utah State will stay in Birmingham, but the Aggies will have a walk-through at Bryant-Denny Stadium Friday afternoon.

Following Thursday's 90-minute practice in helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts, Alabama Coach Mike Shula said, "We ended up our preparation physically. We went a little longer than we wanted to. We slowed the tempo down a little bit and sometimes that is hard for guys to do because their minds slow down a little bit and we weren't quite as sharp as we wanted to be."

The Crimson Tide focused on a number of situations that may arise in the season opener.

"Overall, it was good," Shula said. "We covered a lot of situations. These first few games we have to make sure on the sidelines you have great communication. Guys understand when they need to go in the game. All the little things, especially the pre-snap stuff. As we saw in the USC game (the college football season-opener, Southern Cal vs. Virginia Tech), there were a lot of things that are going to be called early, so we have to make sure we are lined up right. Those are obviously things that can help beat you, and we don't want to do that."

Shula said, "Our guys are focused and we have about 48 hours to think about what we have to get done on Saturday night."

The Bama coach said, "The players we think are getting better are going to play."

He did say that freshman wide receiver Will Oakley would not play in the opener, but hoped that Oakley would be cleared to participate early next week.

Tickets for the Utah State game may be purchased on-line at www.rolltide.com, or by calling 205/348-BAMA or 1-877-TIDETIX. Tickets will also be available at the Coleman Coliseum Ticket Office on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.Tickets will be on sale at Bryant Denny Stadium on Saturday beginning at noon at the ticket windows in the East Tower between gates 35 and 37. Will Call also opens at noon at Bryant Denny Stadium on Saturday. Will Call is located in the same location–ticket windows in the East Tower between gates 35 and 37. A picture ID will be required to pick tickets up. Patrons are encouraged to come early.

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