Tide Shortens Up to Stay Sharp

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula hopes two days in shorts and shoulder pads and faster by a bit off the field has his team rested and ready for its 10th game of the season without a break.

Alabama (6-3, 2-3 SEC) hosts Mississippi State (2-7, 0-5 SEC) at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Both teams have been beaten up badly with injuries.

On Wednesday, freshman Justin Woodall sat out practice with what Shula said was strep throat. Linebacker Terrence Jones had a cold last week, and Shula said that although other players haven't missed practice, there have been more seeing the trainer to pick up cold medicine.

For Alabama, however, Shula anticipated that offensive guard B.J. Stabler (knee soreness) and receiver Keith Brown (knee strain), both of whom missed last week's game, would likely return this week.

Running back Jimmy Johns, center Antoine Caldwell and quarterback John Parker Wilson, all of whom have had twisted ankles of late, practiced and would be ready to go as well, Shula said.

Shula said that Wilson "actually was better yesterday than he was a week ago Tuesday. When he got hit maybe it wasn't as bad as we initially thought. He's a tough guy."

The squad practiced inside Wednesday due to storms and rain in the area and have had shortened practices both Tuesday and Wednesday to help the players stay fresh.

Shula said that when practice is shortened most of the time comes off of the individual position periods which take place early in practice, and sometimes the seven-on-seven (passing) drills and "inside" running drills are shortened.

"We try to keep most of the 11-on-11 stuff the same," Shula said.

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