TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The University of Alabama football team began practice on Tuesday for their upcoming game against in-state rival Auburn.
The Crimson Tide will try to end a two-game losing streak on the season and four-game losing streak against Auburn. The Two teams will meet for just the fourth time in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tigers have won all three contests in 2000, 2002 and 2004. Alabama enters Saturday with a 6-1 record at home. The only loss came two weeks ago against Mississippi State, 24-16.
"I think a lot has already been said this week about this game, even though it's just Tuesday," said head coach Mike Shula. "I know we've answered a lot of questions already and talked about what the atmosphere is going to be like, how our players feel, what we're going to have to expect from playing in this football game. I think the main thing that our players have to do, like every other week, is have a great week of practice with great focus. We're playing against a really good football team. A team that's got a lot of speed on defense and yet they've still got size. Their inside linemen are big and play big. Their outside defensive linemen are speed rushers and can chase things down from the backside. Their linebackers are fast flow guys. Their secondary gets up in your face and presents problems in the bump and run."
The Alabama offense will test the secondary of the Auburn, which is second to last in the SEC with eight interceptions. The Tigers are, however, third in passing offense, allowing 164.4 yards per game. John Parker Wilson (Hoover) had his biggest game of the season last weekend at LSU when he was 22-of-35 for a career-high 291 yards and two touchdowns. He completed passes to eight different wide receivers. DJ Hall (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) as his main target with eight catches for 142 yards, his school record eighth 100-yard game this season. Hall now has 56 catches for 999 yards and five touchdowns. He only needs two yards to break the school record for receiving yards in a single season. Wilson is also on the verge of setting a single season record, needing 213 yards to break the record Brodie Croyle set last season of 2,499 yards.
"I think the best thing he's done so far is not try to force anything," said Hall, a junior wide receiver. "If a receiver is not open, don't try to force it into coverage, throw it into the middle of the field late and get an interception. He does a good job scrambling when he has to and just throwing the ball away. Living to play another down I think is the biggest thing he's done. I think he sees in us what kind of ability we have to make plays and he tells us if you have one guy on you, I'm going to throw you the ball because I know you can make plays. With a quarterback like that and with that much confidence, it makes you work harder because you don't want to let him down and nobody else on the team, so that is always a good thing."
This weekend's game will mark the eighth televised game this season for the Crimson Tide. It will be the fifth time they have appeared on CBS. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:34 p.m. (CT).