Alabama will host Mississippi State in Bryant-Denny Stadium at 11:30 a.m. CST Saturday. Bama is 6-3 overall and 2-3 in Southeastern Conference games. The Bulldogs are 2-7, winless in five SEC contests. The game will be telecast on the SEC's Lincoln Financial network. The Crimson Tide is undefeated in its previous six home games.
Keith Brown suffered a knee sprain in Alabama's win against another Mississippi team, Ole Miss, and did not play against Tennessee or Florida International. Following the Crimson Tide's two-hour workout Thursday, Bama Coach Mike Shula said, "Keith practiced a lot Tuesday. He didn't practice as much Wednesday or today. We'll see how he is, see if he's ready to go Saturday."
Before being injured, Brown was one of the top receivers in the SEC. He still ranks third in the SEC and 31st in the nation in receptions per game (5.29) and ninth in the conference and 37th nationally in receiving yards per game (73.3). Brown has 37 receptions fo 513 yards and three touchdowns.
That wasn't the only good medical news from Shula following Thursday's practice. He said that quarterback John Parker Wilson, who injured an ankle a few weeks ago and aggravated the injury last week against FIU, was "much better this week than last week. The ankle is good."
Weather was on the mind of many Thursday. After the sun went down, it was very cold on the Alabama practice field. The players were in helmets and shorts, but finished in the indoor arena. The forecast Saturday is for sunny and cool, temperatures in the 60s after a very cold morning.
"We had a slow start, but then it got really good," Shula said of Bama's final physical work before Saturday. The team will have a walk-through Friday, then go into meetings for the early Saturday game. "We want to make sure everyone is zeroed in on his assignments," Shula added.
Shula said he emphasized to the players that things would go quickly Saturday with the early game, Bama's first pre-noon kickoff of the year. He noted that pre-game meal would be at 7:30 a.m. He said the Tide would begin meetings ordinarily held on Saturdays on Friday and that Bama would have an early curfew.
Captains Saturday will be linebacker Terrence Jones on defense, halfback Kenneth Darby on offense, and Jeffrey Dukes, a strong safety who plays on punt return and kickoff coverage teams, on special teams.