Wednesday, September 10, 2003
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Alabama Crimson Tide football team worked two hours in helmets and shoulder pads Wednesday afternoon as preparations continue for Saturday night's game Southeastern Conference opener with the Kentucky Wildcats.
"We had a good practice (today)," Alabama head coach Mike Shula said. "The guys are really into it and are doing a nice job. They look like they are hungry, they want to bounce back with a win. They've had a good attitude the last couple of days and that is good.
"For me and for our staff, this is another step for us, going into a game for the first time after a loss. We think we know what these kids are about, hopefully we will react in a good way and find a way to come up with a win."
The preparation this week has been good, according to Shula, and freshman quarterback Michael Machen (6-6, 230, RH) has done a nice job running the scout team offense as UK starter Jared Lorenzen.
"Machen has done a nice job," Shula said. "Now, obviously you can't totally imitate (Lorenzen), but you can do it with effort and you can do it with some of the little things that we are asking him to do this week that are different and unique from other teams. He has done a nice job with all of that. The defensive coaches have been very pleased."
The Alabama-Kentucky game will be televised nationally by ESPN with kickoff set for 6:47 p.m. (CT). This will be Alabama's fifth ESPN game since the end of the 2002 season and fourth in a row, dating back to last year's season finale at Hawai'i.
Alabama is 44-20-2 all-time in SEC openers, including a school-record 11-game winning streak. Alabama is 3-0 in SEC openers with Kentucky, winning in 1972, 1973 and 1989. The Kentucky game also marks the first time since 1996 the Crimson Tide has played its first SEC game of the season at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Weekend Festivities for the Alabama-Kentucky Game:
- Kickoff on the Quad begins at 3:45 p.m. on the UA quad with food, entertainment, autograph guests and more.
- A number of former Bama greats will be available at the autograph tent on the quad prior to Saturday's game.
- Alabama great, Tommy Lewis will run out the game ball prior to the game.
- Alabama men's and women's tennis teams will sign autographs on the quad.
- Alabama gymnastics team will receive their 2003 SEC Championship rings at halftime.