Elephants Never Forget

If you're watching the University of Alabama football team walk into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium's locker room Saturday morning – and you catch a few visible shudders – don't be surprised, or alarmed.

Old memories die hard.

In that locker room, two years ago, the Crimson Tide saw a side of Mike Shula it never wants to see again.

They'd just finished a terrible first half against Ole Miss, falling into a 24-0 first-quarter deficit en route to a 43-28 beating that wasn't nearly as close as it looked.

And Shula quickly let them know it wasn't acceptable. At all.

"There is a bad side (to Shula)," junior right tackle Kyle Tatum said this week. "A lot of people might not think so, but we were just getting drilled out there in the first half. He came in at halftime, and I really can't repeat everything he said, but it was really ugly."

A repeat of 2003's mauling would be stunning, for several reasons. Alabama is 5-0, 3-0 in the SEC and ranked sixth nationally. And Ole Miss is struggling badly under first-year head coach Ed Orgeron.

And you'd better believe the Tide veterans have long memories.

"I'm sure we'll all have a little taste of it when we go back in the locker room, but that's behind us, two years ago, something you've got to keep in your mind," Tatum said. "You know how it can slip away from you at any time in the SEC, and that's a real good reminder for us.

"How embarrassing, how heartbroken we were, that they kind of did us pretty bad. Eli Manning, slaughtered us, threw four or five touchdown passes. But it's just got to be in the past. We know we're a different football team right now and ready to play."

An ugly Sunday practice session following the game further seared the trip into Alabama memories. Sundays are normally light practice days, but the day after the loss, Shula ran a brutal session inside UA's indoor practice facility, known as "The Barn."

"It was just one of those practices where (coaches thought) these guys need a wakeup call," Tatum recalled. "I was on defense then, and we did a pursuit drill, which is flat-out come off the ball and pursue your angle, which is the best way to catch the ball carrier. We did that till the cows came home. It was awful. Guys were falling out, throwing up, looked like they were about to die."

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