Countdown to Kickoff
Bama Begins Game Week Preparations for South Florida


Sunday, August 24, 2003

Derrick Pope
Derrick Pope

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The 2003 season opener is now less than one week away. So, after some time away from football this weekend, the University of Alabama football team was back at work late Sunday afternoon as preparations heated up for Saturday's season opener with the South Florida Bulls.
The Crimson Tide worked in full gear for 2 1/2 hours Sunday afternoon as game week officially arrived at the Capstone. 
First-year head coach Mike Shula has his team in a normal game week routine that will last the next 14 weeks, including the Crimson Tide's only open date of the season in early November.
"(The preparation) is still Xs and Os," coach Shula said following Sunday's workout. "We look at the team's personnel and schemes then decide how we want to attack their different styles in all three phases of the game.
"We want to be sound, mix things up and keep people off balance.  The main thing is to make sure our guys can execute things and we feel pretty good about that.  Are we there yet?  No.  Our plan is not to be ready today, our plan is to be ready on Saturday and we will be."
Coach Shula also announced on Sunday that an updated depth chart would be released later Monday or early Tuesday and that all final decisions in the kicking game will be announced on Tuesday.
The Crimson Tide will not practice on Monday, but will return the field for three more days of preparation beginning Tuesday, Aug. 27.  The team will hold a closed walk through in Tuscaloosa on Friday before departing for the hotel the night before the season opener.
The Crimson Tide will host South Florida in the 2003 season opener this Saturday, Aug. 30 at Legion Field.  The game will be nationally televised by ESPN beginning at 2 p.m. (CT).