Tide Working Double

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula is multitasking in the practice time leading into the Tide's Music City Bowl appearance versus Minnesota on Dec. 31, conducting two-a-day practices again on Monday, with two workouts lasting approximately two hours each.

The Alabama coaches have been working the regulars on the Bama game plan for the Golden Gophers as well as with younger squadmen on preparation for spring practice and the following season.

"We really had two long practices, two, 2-hour practices," Shula said Monday evening. "We got a lot repetitions in on Minnesota, and a lot of reps afterwards with some of the younger guys so it was good. We haven't finalized our game plan or anything like that. We're going through it this week to get most of our work done. When we get up there it will be just more reps on the same thing.

Shula said that offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell and cornerback Aaron McDaniel stood out among younger players Monday.

Shula said that there could be "a couple" of losses for the Music City Bowl due to players' failure to meet academic requirements. Shula did not release the names of any academic losses for the bowl game. A source familiar with the situation indicated that the academic losses did not include any players from Alabama's two-deep lineup.

As has been customary since the beginning of Alabama's 2004 season, Shula updated the status of injured Tide players. Kenneth Darby and Bo Freelend are still questionable, Shula said, while Le'Ron McClain and Wesley Britt have looked healthier in practice.

"Darby, he's doing light individual stuff, no contact," Shula said. "He's right at questionable, right at 50/50 right now whether or not he's going to play. We're going to get him as much rest as we can and he probably won't do anything this week and we'll see how he is Sunday and Monday."

Shula said Aaron Johns would be first in line to fill in for Darby if necessary, but also that Josh Smith and Le'Ron McClain are options at the position. He also said Theo Townsend could see action, but he would lose a redshirt year in that case.

After dressing but being involved in limited work in the morning practice, Simeon Castille did not dress for the evening workout. Shula said Castille had a hamstring injury which "bothered him so we gave him some rest today."

Wilson Continues Good Work

Grayshirt freshman quarterback John Parker Wilson continued to impress Shula on Monday in just his third day of practice with the Alabama squad.

"John Parker Wilson has looked real good in all his practices," Shula said. "It's just great work for him to get him ready for spring ball."

"We knew he was going to get good work in," Shula said. "Am I surprised at his performance? Pleasantly surprised. We felt that way when we recruited him - that he was going to have the right kind of mindset. You can't substitute all the success he's had and the way he's been coached - the way Rush (Propst) has coached him (at Hoover). That stuff is I think invaluable at his position."

While on its face, six days of practice might not seem significant in the development of a freshman quarterback, Shula said the time was valuable.

"In our opinions it is going to help him a lot," he said. "You combine the work that he is going to get here and then those 15 days in spring ball going to be great. At that position you just cant' get enough snaps. He's got a lot of team reps too, not just seven on seven stuff but team reps."

As previously reported, Wilson plans to play baseball at Alabama in addition to football, something Shula said he was prepared for.

"We've got a plan and we've talked about it. We'll talk about it again," Shula said. "I'd rather talk about the football part here and then we'll address that more specifically in the off-season. We interested in completions right now."


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