Entering the game last year Alabama was down Tyrone Prothro and just as importantly down its starting center JB Closner, and that proved costly. Two years ago the entire backfield was being strung together with sticks and wires.
The final injury rundown left things up in the air for Keith Brown, who re-injured is knee and compounded the trouble with an ankle injury last Saturday against LSU. Brown, Alabama's second-leading receiver, has apparently done little in the way of practice this week, but Mike Shula has yet to rule him out for Saturday's contest. Brown has 40 receptions this year for 544 yards. He is averaging 60.4 yards per game with three touchdowns and a long of 38 yards.
"Keith Brown practiced today, a little more," Shula said, "probably close to half of practice. We'll see how he does in warm-ups (on Saturday). He's done a nice job this week."
"Nikita made a big play for us last weekend and Will Oakley had probably his best game. The big thing is they are practicing more consistently," Shula said.
Alabama football practice wound down an hour early Thursday, as it has every day this week because Shula decided to meet in the mornings and move practice an hour earlier. It was another good week of practice according to Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula.
Safety Rashad Johnson, who injured his knee and ankle against Mississippi State, will "probably not" play on Saturday, Shula said, unless something drastically changes. "He was sore yesterday and he didn't practice today."
Rumor has it that Tyrone Prothro might run out the game ball, or alternatively as rumors go, dress for the game. All Shula would say is that Prothro will definitely not be playing.
"I don't get involved with any of that stuff. You're look to the wrong guy for that," he said when asked about the rumors.