Johnson, Brown Look Like Long Shots to Play

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said that safety Rashad Johnson has "an outside chance" to play in Saturday's game, leaving only the slightest hope that Bama's best kick coverage man and starter at safety for four games this season will be able to play. Johnson had 26 tackles and forced two fumbles this season.

Junior Marcus Carter, who started seven games before Johnson beat him out for the position, returned to the starting safety spot against LSU. Carter, who has been picked on in the passing game, had three tackles against LSU and played well according to Bama Defensive coordinator Joe Kines. He has 27 tackles this season and one forced fumble.

"Marcus is doing well," Kines said. "This year has been a step up for him. He started the year not having accomplished much of what he would have wanted, but he's improved as the season went along."

Keith Brown, who re-injured his knee and hurt his ankle on a play in the second quarter Tuesday, said his availability for the Auburn game would be a "Saturday-type decision". He was limited in Tuesday's practice and his status will be re-evaluated for Wednesday.

ESPN's microphoned cable-cam caught Brown laying on the field in pain immediately following the injury, and let audio of Brown using profanity resisting assistance from Alabama's trainer go out over its broadcast. Despite the idiocy of the ESPN game producer allowing the scene of attending to an injured man be broadcast (imagine a similar situation where an accident victim's painful reaction was broadcast live), Brown apologized Tuesday.

"I apologize for that, man," Brown said. "That was all based in frustration, for the simple fact that I had been hurt again. He was doing his job, but in my head I was just ticked off about the whole situation, and I was wrong for talking to him like that. I apologize for it, but it happens."

The combination of injury to right guard B.J. Stabler and the emergence of Marlon Davis at the position makes Davis the likely starter at right tackle for the Iron Bowl. Davis has started the past two games at right guard, and played most of the snaps for Alabama against Florida International.

It's a turn of fortunes for Davis, who appeared from the outside to be in Shula's doghouse after missing several days of practice during fall camp. Davis said that wasn't the case.

"I was going through a lot with my family and my grandmother – just a lot of family issues I needed to take care of before I went any further on into the season," he said. "My mindset is completely different. I'm motivated, ready to go through this season. I prayed about the situations, and I'm a new person, I think, ready to go out and do the best I can do to help the team win this game Saturday."

At the right tackle position, where Chris Capps has started every game this season, Shula said he expects Capps to be back in the starting lineup Saturday against Auburn. Against LSU Capps went out early after someone landed on his knee, and he did not return to the game.

"I just got rolled up on the back of my leg and tweaked my knee a little bit," Capps said. "I told them I could go back, and I'm feeling really good now. I'm good to go."

Shula said Tuesday that he expected Capps to start against Auburn

Bama had two days of no-pads practice on Tuesday and Wednesday in the lead-up to the Auburn game to try to let some of the many walking wounded on his team heal up for the game, but on Tuesday he said his team was in much better overall shape from a health standpoint, and this week the Tide would have more contact. There were over 30 players on the trainer's reports last year during the week of the Auburn game.

"We've got to be really beat up to do something like that," Shula said. "We're not as beat up this year. If you looked at our football team this time last year and how bad they were it made no sense" to practice in pads.


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