Tide Resumes Work in Nashville

After being dismissed Thursday in Tuscaloosa for a two-day respite, the Alabama football squad reassembled in Nashville Sunday afternoon to resume preparation for their New Year's Eve morning Music City Bowl appearance against Minnesota, but four Tide players missed the trip.

"Curtis Dawson did not make the trip. Chris Capps did not make the trip. Dominic Lee did not make the trip and AC Carter did not make the trip," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said.

Shula indicated that Dawson, Capps and Lee, the three underclassmen not in Nashville, would be able to rejoin the team for spring workouts.

Shula did not elaborate on why the players missed the trip other than to say it was in accordance with team policy. NCAA rules require that a student-athlete maintain academic progress each semester to remain eligible to play in game. Alabama's fall semester ended on December 17th.

For the 118 players who made the trip to Nashville, Shula said all arrived safe and sound at Vanderbilt's practice field, working in freezing conditions Sunday evening for nearly two hours.

"I thought practice went really well actually," Shula said. "Guys were into it and moving around. They wanted to move around pretty good anyway. The focus was good. It was a little longer than a normal Sunday practice."

"It was cold last week in Alabama and we stayed outside all week, so I think that kind of helped us," he said.

Shula said Monday's practice would be similar to a Tuesday practice during the normal work week, and the rest of the practices would be like normal preparation for a game.

Quarterback Marc Guillon, who took a flight in from California, had not arrived by the beginning of practice, but joined in midway through. Guillon was picked up at the airport by an Alabama graduate assistant.

"Actually, my flight from Denver to here was about 20-30 minutes late. I should've been here right on time but we kind of got lost," Guillon said. "We've been around this whole city already. "

Alabama and Minnesota will play at 11 a.m. at the Arena in Nashville, home of the National Football league's Tennessee Titans. The game will be televised nationally via ESPN. The Music City Bowl will mark the first meeting between the two schools.

Both teams will be staying at the 3,000-room Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The Minnesota squad is scheduled to arrive in Nashville on Monday.

Alabama will practice at Vanderbilt on Monday through Thursday around 11 a.m. each morning. All practices are closed.

On the injury front, Shula said that David Cavan "continues to improve, and hopefully he'll be ready to go. If he's feeling real good he may have a chance to start for us."

"Ken Darby still, it's going to be questionable," Shula said. "He practiced probably 30 per cent of the snaps tonight. I can't give you an answer yet on him, other than he's questionable. "

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