Alabama, 3-0 and 1-0 in Southeastern Conference play, will play its first road game of the year Saturday. Bama will be in Fayetteville to take on Arkansas in an SEC game at 2:30 p.m. CDT, a game that will be telecast by CBS. Arkansas is 2-1. This will be the Razorbacks' first SEC game. The Hogs have played all their games at home.
Brodie Croyle, Bama's starting quarterback who was lost for the season with a knee injury last week, won't make the trip to Arkansas as Bama is limited to 70 players for an SEC road game. But Alabama Coach Mike Shula expects Croyle to be a big part of the team in weeks to come.
More important, Shula said, "We have a lot of confidence" in back-up quarterbacks Marc Guillon, who will start against the Razorbacks, and Spencer Pennington, who has moved up to number two quarterback.
Shula said, "For whatever reason, we have had a lot of energy this week. I like where the mental state of our team is right now."
Shula was very pleased with Thursday's practice. "It was a much, much better day," he said. "The offense was much better handling the noise. It wasn't like it will be Saturday, but we did a good job." For the second consecutive day speakers ringed the practice field and blared crowd noise and band music, causing difficulties with offensive communication.
Shula said, "We do a lot of moving the ball on Thursday. The substitutions and all the things you have to get done and do not practice on other days, we did today and we did a nice job."
And, he said, Guillon had another good day. "This is an important time for the guys, especially Marc," Shula said. "He needs to go over all those things so he doesn't have to think about things Saturday and can concentrate on reading defenses and running the game. Marc has gotten better each day. He was more comfortable calling plays and when we had some communications problems he was able to get guys lined up where they needed to be."
He said that Pennington got more work in Thursday's practice "and did a good job. He moved the ball."
Shula also said that true freshman cornerback Simeon Castille and true freshman wide receiver Keith Brown both practiced on Thursday and will play in Saturday's game. "Simeon practiced today. He was better than we thought and he will play. Keith Brown practiced again today, too. He looked better today than he did yesterday." Brown had missed last week with a minor knee injury, while Castille banged his knee in Wednesday's practice. The coach also said that senior halfback Ray Hudson, who suffered a head injury last week, had practiced, though without contact, and "looked good."
Shula said, "Now we have to continue to get ourselves more focused for the game. It will be an earlier day (Friday) and an earlier day on Saturday and kickoff will be here before we know it."