Shula on Sunday

The men on the Alabama squad have a few more hours to feel disappointed and reflect on what went wrong Saturday night in their 16-13 overtime loss to a very talented LSU football team, but once the Tide hits the practice field later Sunday night those thoughts need to shift towards beating the Auburn Tigers and picking up a 10th win.

"We've got to make corrections today and once we leave the field tonight we've got to be thinking all Auburn," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said during his Sunday afternoon teleconference.

"I think the biggest thing is we've got to get through this weekend. We've got to get corrections made and our focus has to be on Auburn only. There are a lot of things that can still happen. You know what they are but they are out of your control. (Our team should) have the mindset that they will happen because you've got to be ready for anything."

Alabama travels to Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium for a 2:30 kickoff televised nationally by CBS. Alabama (9-1, 6-1 SEC) will be looking for its first win over the Tigers (8-2, 6-1 SEC) since a 31-7 win on the Plains in 2001.

For Alabama to earn a trip to the Southeastern Conference Championship game in Atlanta, Ga. the Tide must beat Auburn and LSU must lose to either Ole Miss on the road this coming week or to Arkansas at home on Nov. 26.

An at-large BCS berth is another scenario that is still on the table. That would be possible if Alabama beats Auburn and LSU wins out and goes to the Sugar Bowl. In that instance, Alabama would be the most likely pick from the SEC to be an at-large BCS bowl selection – presumably the Fiesta Bowl.

"I don't think that's necessarily something I would talk about to our team," Shula said. "I know they're probably going to hear it from y'all. The thing I'm going to talk to them about is finishing on a high note."

Shula was asked about the scenario in terms of the attractiveness of Alabama for a BCS bowl because of the fan base and the fact that Bama had not been to a major bowl recently.

"I think the best way I can answer that is to talk about our fans," Shula said. "I think our fans are awesome. The atmosphere yesterday was incredible. We know how well Alabama travels because at road games it feels like, half the time, it's a home game. We got a little taste of that last year in Nashville" when it felt like if there was 65,000 Alabama fans at the game.

When talking about last night's game, Shula noted the youth factor among Alabama's receivers since Tyrone Prothro went out of the lineup during the Florida game. Alabama's oldest receiver in the regular rotation is a sophomore. Saturday night's game had a number of dropped passes and instances of Bama receivers being pushed around by LSU defensive backs.

"It's a physical game and we've got to continue to work on being more physical," Shula said. "Sometimes younger guys make a few more mistakes than older guys."

While both Alabama and Auburn will need a loss from LSU to be in championship contention, the loser of this weekend's game will be eliminated from any shot at getting to Atlanta.

"We've made so many strides this year that we've got to come ready to play with all of our playmakers," Shula said. "Last year we were a little beat up going into that game and this year we are, too. But with Brodie and Ken Darby… we feel better about our team going into this game…

"It's tough when you're going against good teams without a bye week, you're going LSU to Auburn, but it's a measuring stick for you as an individual and as a team."

Shula didn't want the team's accomplishments of winning nine games in a row to be overshadowed in light of the recent loss.

"I think (winning the first nine games) is a tribute to our seniors but right now it doesn't feel like that because of the loss to our team yesterday. Obviously this team takes lot of pride in winning. We feel like we're talented on defense. We feel like we're talented on offense, we're just young… We have guys that can make plays. Those guys have to continue to improve and we as coaches have to get them to be more consistent."


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