Tide Puts on Finishing Touches

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said that Wednesday afternoon's practice for the Music City Bowl was "probably our best practice" of the week. The Crimson Tide will play Minnesota at 11 a.m. Friday morning with television coverage on ESPN.

Shula said Kenneth Darby would be available for the game on Friday, but he did not say whether or not Darby would start. Darby has been ailing from an abdominal strain since before Alabama played Auburn on November 20.

"I think he's going to play," Shula said. "I don't know if he's going to start and I don't know how much he'll play. If he feels good after today's practice I think he'll play in somewhat of a role. I'm not sure exactly what it is."

Shula talked about his players staying zeroed in on the game, and not taking knowing their assignments for granted because of the extra preparation time.

"I just talked to them one last time about one last time going over their stuff," Shula said. "It's been such a long time since we've played - not taking anything for granted. Sometimes that happens when you have a chance to go over things a little more than usual."

"We've tried to make this as much as we could like a normal game week on the practice field," Shula said. "Obviously we're in a whole different setting with the meetings and things like that. These last hours are going to be really important mentally to get ourselves ready to go."

Shula said the final hours of preparation will be very similar to a normal week, but with extra meetings and functions added to the schedule.

"Those are things that a little bit different, then after that it's pretty much the same," he said. "The other thing is it's an 11 o'clock kickoff so wakeup is like 6:30 or 6:45, whatever it is. It's going to happen real, real fast. We're going to get in bed early tomorrow night. These guys need to use this time that they have off wisely and get off there feet and get some rest."

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