Thinking Caps On

Almost everyone involved in the Alabama-Auburn game is giving it plenty of thought. This week Crimson Tide Coach Mike Shula is giving his players a little more time to think about Saturday's game.

Alabama is meeting in the mornings and then practicing an hour earlier in the afternoons. "We think it will help them to get off the field a little earlier in the afternoon," Shula said following the Crimson Tide's two hour practice in shorts Wednesday. "We meet in the mornings and so the guys can think about it during the day."

Alabama hosts Auburn Saturday with kickoff in Bryant-Denny Stadium shortly after 2:30 p.m. CST. CBS will televise the game. Bama is 6-5 overall and 2-5 in Southeastern Conference games. Auburn is 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the league.

Although it rained in Tuscaloosa all Tuesday night and through the morning and early afternoon, the bad weather ended just before Bama took to the practice field early Wednesday afternoon. The forecast for Saturday is clear with temperatures in the low- to mid-60s.

Shula said the practice "went well. We had good practices yesterday and today."

Alabama wide receiver Keith Brown missed a couple of games with a strained knee, then was injured again last week at LSU. Shula said Brown was "limited," but added "he's getting better each day." Asked if he was optimistic, Shula said he was "hopeful."

The outlook is not as good for starting safety Rashad Johnson, who has knee and ankle problems. Johnson missed the LSU game. "He was doing a little light jogging," Shula said.

Starting right tackle Chris Capps, who went out of the LSU game after seven plays, has been "full go" in practices this week and is expected to start against Auburn.

Auburn has a four-game winning streak against Alabama. Shula said the team had "talked about it a little. The players hear it from you guys (reporters) and their family and their friends and classmates and I'm sure they talk about it among themselves.

"But we're talking about what has to be done Saturday. What is most important is that each man is focused on what it takes to get ready. That means each play. Each guy gets better and then the team gets better."

He said the players need to play with poise and confidence, "playing each play like it will make a difference. That's what we stress in practice."


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