September 26, 2006

Practice Report: No looking back

There's no cloud hanging over the practice fields in Tuscaloosa this week, at least not according to the Crimson Tide players and coaches who say that the team responded strongly in Sunday's practice after a disappointing loss to Arkansas.

"We came out ready to get that game behind us and get ready for Florida. We were all flying around just like we had won a game," said senior fullback Le'Ron McClain. "We've got build on what happened and not let it get to us."

"Everyone on the team has been very positive and we're all supporting each other real well. We've seen the film and seen how close we were to winning and it lets us know we still can be a good team."

The Tide coaching staff said they are keeping their players completely focused on the No. 5 Florida Gators and trying to stop their powerful and versatile offense.

"Anything that happened in the past doesn't matter in this game," said defensive coordinator Joe Kines. "It doesn't matter what happened last year and it doesn't matter what happened last week. What matters is what happens today on the practice field. We've got to go out there today and see if we can't get better, go back out there tomorrow and polish it up and then go back Thursday and refine it. This week is going to fly by and we can't waste a minute of it."

Finding motivation to prepare for the Gators hasn't been difficult this week, especially with talk of revenge from the Florida camp after last year's 31-3 beating in Tuscaloosa.

"Knowing that they're down there talking about revenge and how they're going to set the tone has gotten us motivated," said McClain. "I just read a quote about how it's going to be a 30-point blowout. We're going to ignore all that just like we did last year and go into this game as underdogs in the loudest stadium in America and we're just gonna handle our business."

"If we can do that, the Arkansas game will be totally out of our system and it's already out of mine."

Injury Report

Head coach Mike Shula said that placekicker Jamie Christensen would do plenty of kicking during Tuesday's practice and then evaluate his condition on Wednesday morning. Shula said he and special teams coach Dave Ungerer want to be certain that Christensen is fully healthy before handing over field goal duties to him.

Shula also said that senior linebacker Terrence Jones was progressing well from his shoulder injury last week and that he did practice in full pads Tuesday. Jones is expected to return to his starting role against the Gators.

Finally, Shula said that wide receiver Aaron McDaniel's surgery to repair multiple torn ligaments in his leg was successful and that McDaniel is currently in the hospital recovering.

Notes

* Alabama is playing in back-to-back SEC road games for the first time since 2000 and just the 22nd time in school history.

* Keith Brown leads the SEC with 6.5 receptions per game. He also ranks second in yards per game with 102.5 and 6th in all-purpose yards with 110.6 this season.

* The Tide has 11 players on its roster from the state of Florida including Javier Arenas, Keith Brown, Glen Coffee, DJ Hall, Marquis Johnson, Mike Johnson, Charlie Kirschman, Will Oakley, Chris Rogers and Roy Upchurch.

* Head coach Mike Shula confirmed to the media that Kenneth Darby would remain the starting tailback this weekend following a disappointing 54-yard rushing performance against Arkansas. Darby said part of his struggles this week had to do with the FieldTurf playing surface at the Arkansas stadium.

"The grass there was really thick and slippery, which makes it hard when you're trying to plant or cut to explode up the field," Darby said. "I changed cleats a couple of times but it didn't seem to make any difference. I just couldn't keep my feet."



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