Tide Completes Week

With Head Coach Mike Shula and six assistant coaches absent to be on the road recruiting, the Alabama football team completed its practice during the off week with a short but intense Thursday workout in full gear.

In the absence of Mike Shula, the hour-long Alabama football practice was conducted by the coordinators–Offensive Coordinator Dave Rader, Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines, and Special Teams Coordinator Dave Ungerer. As had been the case in Tuesday and Wednesday workouts, there was rest and recuperation time for a number of players who have been getting a lot of playing time and/or who are nursing minor injuries.

"It was a week or review and preview," Rader said. "On our side of the ball, we reviewed what we have been doing offensively and had a little preview of what we'll be doing for Mississippi State."

Alabama has its open date of the season Saturday. Bama returns to action November 6 when the Crimson Tide hosts the Mississippi State Bulldogs of Coach Sylvester Croom. Alabama is 5-3 overall and 2-3 in Southeastern Conference play. Mississippi State upset Florida last week to up its record to 2-5. The Bulldogs are 1-3 in SEC play and hosting Kentucky this weekend.

The Alabama-Mississippi State game will be telecast by ESPN2 with kickoff at 5:30 p.m. CST.

Alabama will begin preparation for Mississippi State in earnest Sunday.

Rader said that wide receiver Matt Caddell and center J.B. Closner were among those who caught his eye during the short week of work.

Rader said that Josh Smith, a walk-on fullback, could be getting work at halfback. "He can play both," Rader said. Alabama is thin at both running back spots, having lost starting halfback Ray Hudson and starting fullback and back-up halfback Tim Castille to season-ending knee injuries. Smith, a 5-11, 200-pound senior who plays on special teams, is listed as the back-up to Le'Ron McClain at fullback. Kenneth Darby and Aaron Johns at the two scholarshipped halfbacks.

Kines said, "It was a good week. We needed some time off for some of our guys. The ones who needed some rest got it. And the ones who needed some extra work were able to get it."

Kines, who coaches linebackers, said "We've been playing the older guys, and some young ones were able to get some good work." He mentioned Marcel Stamps and DeMarcus Waldrop as "needing every snap." He also cited strong safety Marcus Carter for his work in the three days.

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