Changing Plans

After announcing Wednesday they would cut back significantly on the number of hotel rooms normally used for this weekend's season opener against Middle Tennessee, Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said today that his squad football team will not take up any hotel rooms in order to make room for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

"We've got a change of plans with our hotel," Shula said following Thursday afternoon's light workout in shorts and helmets. "We're not going to stay in a hotel. We're going to stay in our own places, that way the hotel can keep rooms for people that are here, that need them obviously more than any football team would meet them."

The squad will hold meetings at the football complex and proceed with meals at the Sheraton Four Points as had been originally planned.

Senior quarterback Brodie Croyle (Rainbow City), senior linebacker DeMeco Ryans (Bessemer) and senior defensive end Mark Anderson (Tulsa, Okla.) will serve as game captains in the opener.

Kickoff time for Saturday's game is 6:07 p.m. (CT). The game is available in Alabama and Tennessee on Crimson Tide Sports Marketing pay-per-view with David Crane, Tyler Watts and Chris Stewart. The game is also available on DirecTV (Channel 783), DISH Network (Channel 455) and ESPN GamePlan.

"I think our guys are ready," Shula said. "I think they're feeling fresh. They've got their legs back under them. From now till game time it's important for them to get off their feet and go over their stuff; think about what it's going to take to play four quarters of solid football."

"The guys have had real good focus, and yet there's a lot of interest and care in the events that are happening because of Katrina. There's plans being made now by our team, both staff and players, to find ways we can do our part and help out."

In the final injury report, Shula said that cornerback Eric Gray (hamstring) is doubtful to play on Saturday, and that Ramzee Robinson (back) was probable to play Saturday.

Greg McLain (shoulder), Trent Davidson (foot) and B.J. Stabler will not play.

Crimson Tide Sports Marketing changed plans for its pre-game show on Thursday, also. CTSN's pre-game radio show, normally broadcast at home games from the Quad, will originate this Saturday from the press box at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

All other activities scheduled for "Coca-Cola Kickoff on the Quad" will continue as planned, but CTSN's "Jeep Tailgate Show," which begins at 4 p.m. central time, will shift locations for this week.

The University will join with the American Red Cross to take donations outside Bryant-Denny Stadium prior to kickoff of the Alabama-Middle Tennessee game Saturday night. In addition, UA's Director of Athletics, Mal Moore, encouraged fans coming to town for the game this weekend to give up their hotel rooms, if possible, so that evacuees could continue to be housed in Tuscaloosa hotels.

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