Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Wraps Up Practice; Ready to Face Auburn


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Todd Bates

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama football put the finishing touches on its game plan for No. 2 ranked and unbeaten Auburn with a light practice Thursday afternoon.
The 75-minute workout culminated what coach Mike Shula a good week of practice.
"I thought it was another good day," Shula said.  "I think we have had three real good days.  Our guys have a good look in their eyes and I think that is important.  We have given ourselves the best chance to go out there and be successful.  Now we have to translate that as we do every week on to the field."
Shula addressed the Crimson Tide's injury situation and said that it looks like all of those banged up should be able to go against the Tigers.
"Personel-wise, I think all they guys that are questionable are all going to play.  As far as Spencer (Pennington) goes, he is fine.  He took just about every rep today.  Marc (Guillon) had a few reps.  Marc probably had more reps yesterday, so today we needed to get Spencer caught up a little bit."
The Crimson Tide coach also noted that the mental work this week has been really good and that could play an important part in Saturday's regular-season finale.
"(The mental work) has been sharp," Shula added.  "The guys have been pretty focused.  We are getting more leadership out our upperclassmen, and we have had it all year, and we are going to need it for sure on Saturday.  That is one of those things that gives you a chance. 
"With the injuries that we have had and some of the close games and the ups and downs this year, our guys have really been solid.  We've moved on to the next game, moved on to the next day, and they play the game that way too.  We talk a lot about that, just playing one play at a time and that is what we are going to have to do again on Saturday."
The second-year head coach also said that the atmosphere was a little different this week as the Crimson Tide gets set to host the undefeated Tigers in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"There is definitely an excitement around campus, Shula added.  "There is a buzz in the locker room.  There is a buzz in the meeting rooms.  There is a buzz on the practice field.  I think the same thing  for the coaches, too.  It's probably worse for the coaches.  I don't mean that in a bad way.  I think it's really exciting. 
"For whatever reason there is a lot more time spent, even when you are heading home after work, thinking about the game and all the situations that could come up.  We kinda play the game to make sure that the staff has talked about as many things that could come up as possible and that you are ready to go with all the changes that may have taken place during the week. 
"That is what makes it fun.  Nothing is ever predictable as it seems.  In this game, like a lot of other games, there are going to be certain plays that are going to be made that are going to change the momentum.  Hopefully, we are on the top side of those and we take advantage of those when there are opportunities and again, minimize our mistakes."
Alabama will host Auburn in the final regular season game for both teams this Saturday afternoon and the game will be nationally televised by CBS Sports with a 2:34 p.m. (CT) kickoff.