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November 23, 2010

Notebook: Richardson practicing, Jones still sidelined

TUSCALOOSA _ There appeared to be no change in the status of injured University of Alabama football players Trent Richardson (knee) and Barrett Jones (ankle) during the final media viewing period of the regular season Tuesday afternoon.

"He's doing great," Coach Nick Saban said about Richardson. "We have every expectation that he'll play."

The sophomore running back was working with a brace on his left knee, while Jones continued to sport a black jersey signaling no contact while pedaling feverishly on an exercise bike and simultaneously hooked up to a TENS unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) .

"He's doing everything he can," junior center William Vlachos said.

Redshirt freshman Anthony Steen practiced at right guard, with junior John Michael Boswell his backup and junior Alfred McCullough at right tackle on the second unit behind redshirt freshman D.J. Fluker.

"He's extremely talented, one of the strongest guys on the team as far as playing strength on the football field," Vlachos said about Steen. "He can straight up force people around. He's a talented player, he just doesn't have a lot of experience."

Defensively, senior end Luther Davis appeared to be more in the mix on the base unit, with redshirt freshman Jack linebacker Ed Stinson working more with the pass-rushers.

Announcer's interesting comments

Gary Danielson, who will call Friday's game with Verne Lundquist for CBS, with Tracy Wolfson completing the broadcast team, had some interesting observations this week.

On Nick Saban vs. Cam Newton: "To me it's almost like we are going to have a final debate on whether or not there is global warming. If Nick can do it, people are going to say, 'Ok it can be done.' If Nick can't do it, a lot of people are going to say, 'It might not be able to be done.'"

Subplots: "As a broadcaster I have never been in a game that has had so many sidebars. You have the BCS stuff, whether a little school should get in over the big schools. You have the Cam Newton situation. There is the Heisman drama. And the Auburn drama of going undefeated in 2004 and not getting to go the title game. And everyone in the country wants the SEC to get knocked off because this conference has produced the last four national champions. You have the in-state battle with these teams hating each other. You can do the whole game and not have either team run a play and still have enough to fill 3 hours. You could literally just have both teams come out and do interviews for 3 hours, just do a pregame show from the stadium, and people would be riveted."

On Auburn: "Everybody, except Auburn fans, are hoping Auburn loses. The little schools want them to lose. The Big Ten wants them to lose. The people that don't want to vote for Cam Newton want them to lose. Everyone for one reason or another is rooting against them and rooting for the guy they love to hate, Nick Saban. People love to hate Nick Saban but they are all on his side for this game."

On Alabama: "Just four weeks ago, everybody thought top-to-bottom, inside-and-out, from player one to player 85 that the best team in the country was Alabama. If Auburn is going to win a championship they have to go through arguably one of the top teams in the country. Alabama can lineup and beat anybody. They haven't, but they could. They have this game at home against their dreaded rival and they want this badly."

Tide-bits

While Auburn practiced outside in the rain Tuesday, Alabama opted for being inside the Hank Crisp Facility (although it should be noted it had stopped raining in Tuscaloosa by then). Friday's forecast is for low 50s and a 30 percent chance of rain. "We have had a pretty good week so far," Saban said. "The players have had a good intensity and effort in what we are trying to get accomplished in practice. It has been different from a schedule standpoint but the practices have been spirited."

Alabama will hold practice an hour earlier than normal Wednesday so players who live within two hours driving distance of home can enjoy some family holiday time. The rest of the team will enjoy a Thanksgiving meal at one of their coaches' houses. The team will have a holiday meal on its own Thursday afternoon.

Saban on trying to run the ball against Auburn: "I think our running backs will only be able to do what our offensive line is able to do."


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