Battle Scars

Today members of the Alabama football team went into class (we assume) and were peppered with congratulations, back-slaps and personal stories of what a classmate was doing in the student section during to cheer them on and what he or she did afterwards to celebrate.

Tuesday will be a repeat of the same scene because most classes are set up to have some class on Mondays and Wednesdays, with others on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Good thing it's Utah State coming up. No offense to the Aggies, but their 2-4 record spotted with wins over UNLV and San Jose State make them an apt homecoming opponent. Tide defensive coordinator Joe Kines will have a full day's working finding something to keep his team's attention focused on the Aggies this week.

Then there's the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who although one of the weaker teams in the Southeastern Conference, will always treat the Alabama game as a special one as long as Sylvester Croom is in charge and his staff is comprised of several former Bama coaches.

So what's to prevent a Crimson Tide letdown?

First, the fact that in spite of one of the biggest wins in their careers, Alabama didn't play its best game against Tennessee, nor did it the Tide play exceedingly well against Ole Miss. Alabama has scored one offensive touchdown since its 31-3 blowout of Florida. Just one touchdown since losing Tyrone Prothro.

"We know we haven't played very good offensive football the past two weeks," Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle said. "We haven't found the end zone. We've moved the ball at times and we've gotten some things done but we haven't gotten back in that groove of scoring touchdowns."

Croyle agreed it's fair to say losing Prothro has been a big part of it. On the other hand, Croyle said Bama was "in a lull" against Ole Miss and Tennessee's defense had something to say about the most recent lack of scoring.

"The only reason some of those other teams scored a lot of points on them is that they were set up. A lot of times they started drives inside Tennessee's 20," Croyle said. "Their pass defense-it's not so much that their secondary is great, but they can drop their linebackers and drop their front four and it's like the rest of the teams we play blitzing 7 guys. They've got that much talent."

The senior quarterback stayed mostly out of Sunday's practice due to aching everything. Monday is the Tide's day off, giving Croyle another day to feel better.

"What hurts? Let's see, my ankle, my knee, my butt, my shoulder, my neck," he said. Asked about a scabbed knuckle on his left hand, he remembered, "Oh yeah, and my hand, my bad. I got my hand caught between two helmets."

Hurt? Yes. Injured? No, Croyle said. "Nothing. It's one of those painful days after a hard-fought week. I'll be out there Tuesday."


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