Wednesday's Practice in, Thursday's Cancelled

No one mentioned a word about Western Carolina in Mike Shula's Wednesday afternoon post-practice media session. All minds were clearly on Hurricane Ivan as it approached land off the Gulf of Mexico.

The squad worked in shorts and shoulder pads for about an hour and 45 minutes at Thomas-Drew field. Alabama is scheduled to take on Western Carolina at 6:07 p.m. Saturday. The game is scheduled for a Pay-Per-View broadcast.

Ivan forced The University to cancel classes Wednesday afternoon through the end of the week, and Mike Shula has cancelled Thursday's planned football practice. The squad is set to return to practice Friday morning.

When Shula spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon, the decision whether to cancel practice or not was up in the air. Several players spoke to Shula after the practice, followed by a conference among Shula and other coaches.

"Originally we had planned on possibly moving up practice tomorrow and getting it done," Shula said following the conferences. "If the hurricane is coming quicker we might just wait and do everything on Friday. We're going to make the best decision for all of us and go from there.

"There's a lot of different ways you can go with it. We could get them all here and make sure we get in tonight so we make sure no one's moving around."

Shula said the hurricane hasn't been a distraction to his team. Players were not made available for interviews.

"The guys have been good so far from what you can tell," he said. "It's on everyone's minds obviously."

"It's different from the NFL because a lot of them are still teenagers," Shula said. "They're on your watch a lot more than the are in the NFL."

Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore said Tuesday that he would meet with police officials and representatives from Alabama Power on Friday morning to assess the conditions in the area and decide whether or not to proceed with Saturday's game as scheduled. Moore indicated that both schools are making every effort to play the game Saturday night.

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