Waiting for All Clear

Most weeks it would seem strange that the defensive coordinator's top priority is not on the current week's opponent, but on Tuesday at Alabama's weekly press conference it was perfectly fitting for Alabama defensive coordinator Joe Kines to open his remarks on a different subject.

"I was thinking walking up here it seems a little odd to be talking about something like a game when there are so many folks hurting this morning," Kines said. "Your first thoughts and prayers go out to all those folks in Mississippi and on the Gulf that were hit. That's real life and this is a game. You'd be remiss if you didn't take a second to say we're pulling for you and we hope everything goes good there."

Hurricane Katrina's affects were central in the world of Alabama sports on Tuesday.

Gulfport, Miss. native Keith Brown had yet to contact his mother, who evacuated from Gulfport to Hattiesburg, Miss. before the storm hit to stay with Brown's aunt.

"No contact at all," Brown said. "It's like all the phones are out everywhere I call. Folks are going to pray for them. I've got the team praying for them, hopefully the rest of the world, too."

Brown had family in Louisiana he had yet to hear from, also. He has been getting all of his information from CNN.

"I can't take my eyes off of it because you never know what's wrong," he said.

Indications from most Alabama players with homes and families near the Gulf Coast was that their families were okay.

DJ Hall, from Pensacola, Fla. said his family missed the brunt of the storm as did Baton Rouge, La. native Chris Keys. Debris and trees – similar to and some worse than the damage in Tuscaloosa and other points further inland - was the word from their hometowns.

Brookhaven, Miss. native Jimmy Johns spoke to his sister to learn that his family was safe. Brookhaven is about 90 miles west of Hattiesburg, and Johns' family did not evacuate because the Hurricane was projected to go farther west.

"I talked to my sister on a cell phone and she said my mom's doing fine," Johns said. "I'm just praying for everybody over there. The whole city is messed up. I hope it gets better."

Out of class due to power outages, the squad had a walk-through earlier Tuesday and meetings to check up on players and their families.

"As far as we know (everyone's family is okay)," Kines said Tuesday morning. "That's the first thing, we tried to check with them this morning," Kines said. "I talked to several kids down on the coast and they all said they were doing good, so we're thankful for that."

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