Tide Goes Ones vs. Ones

There's still at least one refuge of college football where instant replay hasn't taken over, and controversy remains the order of the day, and that's at practice. It caused some noise and controversy at the end of Alabama's work on Wednesday, as the first-team offense worked against the first-team defense in the two-minute drill to end practice.

"It was Tim Castille and Marquis Johnson at the goal line," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said. "It's actually a debate right now between the offense and defense."

Johnson, a true freshman, has practiced his way up the depth chart and is among a group of cornerbacks including Lionel Mitchell and Eric Gray who frequently rotate in with starters Simeon Castille and Ramzee Robinson in nickel and substitute situations.

"Any time we can get ones-on-ones (first string offense against first-string defense) going we do that because it keeps us up with the speed of the game," Shula said.

The players were not in full pads on Wednesday, instead they went out in shorts and shoulder pads.

On Wednesday Shula was again complimentary of the Southeastern conference offciating crew headed by Jeff Roberson for their communcation and smooth running of the game.

Shula said that replay, "hasn't been too good to us," he said, "but its caught some things that have been fair. That's what we all strive for."

Running back Kenneth Darby, who suffered a hip pointer in the first series against Hawaii last week, practiced on both Sunday and Tuesday. "He was sore yesterday but practiced through it," Shula said, "and he was even better today. He should be ready to go."

Shula also said that receiver D.J. Hall had "gotten better" in recovering from an ankle injury suffered last week in practice. Hall did not play for both injury and disciplinary reasons in the season opener, but will play on Saturday if healthy, Shula has said. "I think he's going to be ready to go, I just don't know if he'll be 100 per cent."

Placekicker Jamie Christensen has been sidelined with an injured groin.

"He's still a little bit sore," Shula said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow as far as soreness. He did kick and he's getting better. We haven't ruled him out yet."

Shula has indicated that Christensen's status will likely be a game-time decision for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. kickoff against Vanderbilt to be televised on Fox Sports South. Tickets for the game were sold out.

True freshman Leigh Tiffin was 3-of-4 on field goal tries in his place against Hawaii. Asked about potential for a kicker controversy if Tiffin continues to perform at a high level, Shula said, "It gives you confidence in your kicker. If there's a competition we'll end up playing the best guy but Jamie deserves the right to be the starter."

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