Crimson Tide continues preparations for Ole Miss

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

The University of Alabama football team worked for two hours in helmets and shoulder pads Wednesday afternoon as preparation continues for Saturday's Southeastern Conference Western Division game against the Ole Miss Rebels.

"It was a good practice," Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said.  "I think the cool weather helped us.  It seemed that everyone was a little more livelier, so that was good.  The last two days we have had some really good work."

Shula said that both quarterbacks sophomore Brodie Croyle and redshirt freshman Brandon Avalos practiced on Wednesday and the decision as to which one will start will be much like the last two weeks.

"As far as Brodie, he had about the same amount (of reps), maybe not quite as many, as he had (Tuesday). We want to make sure that Brandon is ready to go.  We will probably do the same thing (as last week) just wait until after practice tomorrow and see how they do and make a decision.  We will see how Brodie is feeling on Friday and make the decision then."

The Crimson Tide and Rebels will meet in a regionally (Jefferson Pilot Sports) televised game this Saturday in Oxford, with kickoff set for 11:33 a.m. (CT) from Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium/Hollingsworth Field.

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said the Crimson Tide returns to SEC play with a tough opponent waiting for them at his weekly press conference held Tuesday.

"(We're) Back in the (Southeastern Conference) - Ole Miss on the road, another game in the SEC so it's going to be another tough game," Shula said. "Ole Miss is 2-0 and they're leading the west. We're looking forward to getting back on the road and going to get a win on the road.  (Ole Miss) is going to be good, obviously, with Eli Manning, the strength of their offense and the strength of their team.  We've got to do a good job in all three phases.

"Offensively, moving the ball, running it or throwing it, trying to keep their offense off the field," he added. "Defensively, we've got to know exactly where we're going to be at all times, doing a good job covering, a good job against the run. Special teams, if we play like we played last week where we felt like we made some plays and essentially put points on the board for us. Those are the things we have to do against a good, well-coached Ole Miss team."

Shula said the quarterback situation remains undecided.

"As far as our situation with Brodie (Croyle), it's going to be day-to-day," Shula said. "Obviously he had the rest last week.  We'll see how he feels today and see how much time he'll get in practice and take it today, tomorrow and the next day. We've got a plan ready if he's going to be in there. We've got a plan ready if Brandon (Avalos) is going to be in there. They're not as far apart as people might think they are. The best thing about from Saturday to now is that our team feels good about what they accomplished over the weekend, the way we won the football game where all three phases contributed. I think that's what we've got to continue to build on.  There are a lot of positives with that and we take that with a little momentum going into this game."