On the road again...still

Willie Nelson sang about getting on the road again, but the Alabama Gymnastics team it's a matter of staying on the road.

The No. 5 ranked Crimson Tide has a lot of traveling to do this weekend. First Sarah Patterson and her charges make their way to Fayetteville, Ark. to face Arkansas on Friday and then will go to Lincoln, Neb. to face Nebraska on Sunday.

The Lady Razorbacks are in their first year of competition and while the gymnasts will all be new to the Tide, the coaches are familiar. Mark and Rene Cook, co-head coaches of the Ladybacks, coached at Stanford, which competed at the Alabama hosted Super Six Challenge in 2001. Mark Cook was an assistant at UCLA before Stanford.

Arkansas has gotten out of the blocks quickly, ranked 23rd in the first national rankings of the season and drawing an average of 4,500 fans through their first two competitions. The Tide and Arkansas get underway at 7 p.m. at Barnhill Arena.

While only the coaching staff of the Razorbacks are familiar to the Crimson Tide, Nebraska, is a whole different matter. Husker coach Dan Kendig has his team at the NCAA Championships yearly, including the Alabama hosted 2002 event. And if that weren't enough to breed familiarity, the Tide has actually already seen the No. 4 ranked this season, when both teams competed at the Super Six Challenge two weeks ago, where the Cornhuskers were second and the Tide fourth.

Alabama and the Huskers will get things underway at 2 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday at the Devaney Center.

The Tide scheduled Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time since 1992 not just to see the Huskers twice in three weeks, but also to preview the site of the 2003 NCAA Championships, where the Tide will attempt to defend their national title.

This will be the only time during the regular season that Alabama will compete twice in one weekend. Only at the NCAA Championships, back in Lincoln, will the Tide compete more than once in a weekend.

Alabama does have a break from the road coming up on Friday, Jan. 31 when they host Michigan in Coleman Coliseum. Tickets for that event, and season tickets, are available through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262) and online at rolltide.com.


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