Hoping Practice Pays Off

Having sharp and productive practices doesn't guarantee any college football team a win (the other team is practicing every day, too), but practicing poorly will almost assure a loss when top teams collide.

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula was pleased with his team's workout in shorts and shoulder pads on Wednesday, hoping it pays off on the field against LSU this week.

"I thought practice was okay - good yesterday and even better today," Shula said. "We keep talking about it. In my opinion, if you don't practice well you cannot give yourself a chance. These guys they come out here and work hard. We'd just like to see it pay off."

Of course, what happens Saturday is all that matters in college football. Alabama was back on the field in helmets and shoulder pads on Wednesday as they continued to get ready for their final road game of the regular season, against No. 12 LSU at 6:45 p.m. CT in Tiger Stadium (ESPN television).

"The execution was better," Shula said. "I almost wish we practiced ones on ones more. It helps with the speed. We went 15 minutes yesterday and today."

The Crimson Tide defense, which ranks third in the SEC in rushing defense (107.8 ypg.) and fifth in passing defense (169.4 ypg.) could be without one of its senior leaders who was hurt at practice on Wednesday.

Senior tackle Jeremy Clark suffered a sprained ankle on Wedesday, Shula said, and his status is up in the air for Saturday's game.

"I'm not sure if he is going to be ready to play," Shula said.

Another starter, safety Rashad Johnson, was described as "doubtful" for Saturday's game yesterday, having strained his knee and sprained his ankle against Mississippi State, and today Shula said it "would probably be a miracle" if Johnson was ready to play against LSU. In addition to starting on defense, Johnson had been one of the deep men on the Crimson Tide's kickoff return squad. Shula said Wednesday DJ Hall would be first in line for that responsibility with his absence.

Jimmy Johns, the sophomore running back, was held out of practice Wednesday, Shula said. He was described as "light-headed".


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