October 19, 2006

Rain doesn't damper Tide spirits

The Tide took in its final practice session before the Tennessee game in some light rain but that didn't seem to cool down a Tide team who has been intense all week in practice.

"We just finished up and our guys did a great job," said head coach Mike Shula. "They've been focused this week. This has probably been our best week. I don't know exactly what that means but I think it's a really good sign that our guys are into it and they know what this game means. They know the team we're going to be playing and what's it going to take to beat them. Now we've just got to translate it all from the practice field to the game."

The Tide moved up its Thursday practice session since classes were closed for fall break, giving the players an opportunity to get some much needed rest in before the trip to Knoxville.

"It let them get some rest physically and mentally as well," Shula said. "It gives them the opportunity to spend a few hours without being in a football meeting or study hall or class. I think it's much needed."

The Tide's injured players were given a little extra rest with a limited workout in practice to make sure that key players like DJ Hall, Keith Brown and Jimmy Johns had plenty of time to heal up before Saturday's game.

"Everyone looked okay, we tried to rest the injured guys as much as we could. We gave them as much as they could take and hopefully they'll be ready to go Saturday."

The Tide coaching staff also selected team captains for the Tennessee game on Thursday with the defensive captain honors going to Juwan Simpson, offensive duties going to Le'Ron McClain and special teams going to Rashad Johnson.

The team will depart for Knoxville tomorrow around noon.

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