Around the SEC

The University of Alabama football team practiced for two hours Thursday afternoon in helmets and shoulder pads in preparation for Saturday's homecoming game with the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The game will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. (CT) and will be televised nationally by CBS Sports.

"It was a good Thursday," head coach Dennis Franchione said. "Our work was good and clean for the most part. Our concentration was good this week. I was hoping with the open date last week that we have gotten our legs back under us a bit. I hope that shows on Saturday with speed and quickness."

Franchione was asked about the importance of this Saturday's game with LSU in terms of bowl ramifications.

"We are just trying to win a game right now," Franchione said. "I know you guys don't want to hear me talk that way, but that is what we have to do."


'Dawgs Rest Up Before Nov. 10 Matchup with Auburn

ATHENS, Ga. -- The Bulldogs (5-2, 4-2 SEC) worked out for two hours Thursday in full pads at the Woodruff Practice Fields to close out practice for this week. Georgia is off Saturday and will resume practice Monday afternoon.

Georgia focused on next week's matchup with Auburn for the first hour of practice, and the second half was used as a scrimmage session for the scout offense and defense.

"Today was an interesting day," said Georgia head coach Mark Richt. "We spent an hour working on Auburn and then let the scout teams go at each other and play some live football. (The scout teams) have done a great job for us this season and we wanted to reward those guys."

Richt mentioned that the success of this year's scout teams are due largely to the work of graduate assistant coaches Joe Danna and John Segrave.

The Bulldogs (No. 18 AP/No. 23 Coaches) will take this weekend off before starting final preparations for the renewal of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. The Nov. 10 game with Auburn will be televised by CBS at 3:30 p.m. ET. All Georgia games are broadcast on NewsTalk 750 WSB and the WSB/Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network.


Vols Put Finishing Touches on Notre Dame Plan

Tennessee donned sweats and helmets in its final home practice Thursday afternoon before heading north to clash with Notre Dame. The Volunteers drilled for about an hour and a half on their Notre Dame plan. Further refining the kicking game proved to be the top order of the day. The Vols also got together to execute their offensive and defensive game plans to cap the session.

"We had some good work today," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "We're ready for this trip. I think we have prepared well."

In good news from this week's work, defensive end Will Overstreet, a defensive end who missed the Georgia and Alabama games, appears to be at full strength for Saturday's clash. With the addition of Overstreet, Tennessee appears to enter the game with a clean bill of health to battle the Fighting Irish in what Fulmer calls a "tremendous challenge for our team."

Tennessee's 74-man travel squad leaves campus Friday at 11:15 a.m. ET to catch a flight to South Bend, Ind. Upon arrival, the Volunteers will get a history lesson at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend where 15 former Vols and two coaches are enshrined (none of whom faced the Irish). Senior captain Will Bartholomew will serve as team spokesperson for interviews at 2 p.m. ET prior to the squad's tour of the Hall. Following the tour, Tennessee moves on to historic Notre Dame Stadium for a walkthrough at 4 p.m. in the 82,232-seat facility. Fulmer will speak with the media at 3:45 p.m. ET prior to the walkthrough. The Vol squad will stay in nearby Michigan City, Ind.

As the calendar turned a new month today, the orange-blooded recall a strong November record dating back to the mid 1980s. Tennessee stands 60-3 in November games dating back to 1985. A trio of memorable Vol/Irish clashes punctuate the November streak. Top-ranked Notre Dame handed Tennessee its first loss during the 1985-present November streak by slipping away from Neyland Stadium with a 34-29 victory in 1990. However, the Tennesseans rallied to take the last two meetings between the traditional football powers. In a thriller that would make the Vol all-time top 10 games list for many fans, Tennessee roared back from a sizeable deficit to leave South Bend with a 35-34 victory in 1991. The Volunteers' last meeting with the Irish in 1999 produced a 38-14 victory for the orange clads at Neyland Stadium.

Kickoff Saturday is set for 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.


Holtz Preaches Discipline on Defense

USC head coach Lou Holtz said Thursday that he's anxious to see how his team's defense will do against Wofford's triple option offensive attack this Saturday as the two schools meet at 1 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. "They run a very confusing offense," said Holtz. "And, they run it very well. We will need to play assignment football and be disciplined on defense. The wishbone is a team-oriented offense and the only way to defend it successfully is to play a team-oriented defense. It will take discipline and execution on our part."

Coach Holtz hinted that he may look at some different players for returning punts this weekend. "You may see Chavez Donnings, Matthew Thomas or Derek Watson," said Holtz. "We may need a fresh look there. Ryan Brewer does an excellent job of fielding punts and ball possession is critical back there, so we'll have to see."

Cornerback Andre Goodman (shoulder) and offensive guard Kevin Rivers (ankle) will not play Saturday against Wofford due to injuries. Tailback Derek Watson (shoulder/hamstring) and offensive tackle Melvin Paige (shoulder) are probable.

Coach Holtz said that Chavez Donnings, a junior college transfer, was just now beginning to come into his own. "It's difficult for a first-year junior college transfer to pick up everything in such a short period of time," said Holtz. "Chavez missed some time during preseason camp that put him behind. You like to have your junior college players go through spring practice if at all possible. We are going to let that be a strong factor in our decision in recruiting junior college players."

Saturday's game with Wofford will kick off at 1 p.m. It will also be the Athletics Department's annual Salute to the Armed Services, with a special recognition taking place both during pregame and at halftime. Fans need to use their tickets from the Sept. 15 game against Bowling Green to gain admission. Stadium security and parking restrictions will remain the same for this Saturday's game as they have since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. No book bags, shoulder bags or coolers will be allowed into the stadium. All cell phones, head phones and stadium cushions are subject to inspection.

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