November 8, 2006

Practice Report: Tide prepares for LSU

At the Tide's practice on Wednesday, preparation continued for a tough matchup against LSU and so far the Tide have impressed head coach Mike Shula this week.

"I thought practice went okay yesterday and even better today," Shula said. "Execution was better and our guys have really looked good in the ones-on-ones drills. We're hoping that this is the week that our good practice shows up on the field. We know if you don't practice well, you don't even give yourself a chance so it's important."

Shula also mentioned that with Rashad Johnson out with multiple injuries, DJ Hall will take over the kick return duties alongside Javier Arenas. Matt Caddell and Ramzee Robinson have also been taking snaps at kick return in practice this week.

With the Tide's running backs dropping like flies to injuries, Shula said he expects both Tim Castille and Ali Sharrief to see more snaps at tailback this week while Jimmy Johns continues to recover.

"Ali has been getting some more reps in practice and got some in the game against FIU. He's been working hard and looks good in practice and he's done a nice job of stepping up."

Speaking of injured backs, Shula said Glen Coffee appears to be nearly back to full strength and is participating in practice with the team now, however it's likely he will remain on the sidelines and take an expected redshirt year this season.

Tide continues preparation for LSU

Lost in the controversy of last Saturday's events is the significance of the Alabama-LSU rivalry, usually considered one of the main events on the Tide's schedule. Shula made it know that the Tide isn't looking past the Tigers and takes the rivalry very seriously.

"It's important for the guys to have a good mentality going in," Shula said. "LSU is coming off of a big win; they're highly ranked and deservedly so. We've got to put a good plan together and take the way we've practiced for the last couple of weeks and apply it to the game and play four good quarters of football."

"When you play LSU you realize that you have to strap up and be ready to play. Both programs have a respect for the programs, because these are two very good programs. Usually there's a lot riding on the game, as well. It's a lot of fun to go out there and play against a coach and a team you have a lot of respect for."

LSU head coach Les Miles has also taken care to put his team in the correct mindset for what should be an intense rivalry game.

"It does have a place in your game week preparations," Miles said. "You understand the traditions of the program and the traditions of the past few years. Our guys understand that. We don't put much stock in the fact that this is a team that has lost a couple of games they shouldn't have lost. We understand that Alabama is a good football team, and has a very tradition-rich past."

Injury Report

* Jimmy Johns did not practice today after apparently feeling light headed early in practice. Shula said he did not know yet if the condition was related to the brutal hit Johns received on a kickoff return against Mississippi State.

Shula said Johns looked good in practice yesterday and that he expects him to be cleared by the team doctors to return to practice tomorrow.

* Shula confirmed that DT Jeremy Clark hurt his ankle in practice yesterday. "We'll see if he'll be ready to play or not. It's a mild sprain."

* Shula also said that at this point "it would be a miracle" if injured safety Rashad Johnson played against LSU this weekend.

* Keith Brown practiced yesterday and today. Shula said he believes he is looking better every day.

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