Countdown to Kickoff
Crimson Tide Begins Independence Bowl Preparation



TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The University of Alabama football team returned to the practice field at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility on Saturday to start its preparation for the its Independence Bowl contest against Oklahoma State on Dec. 28, at 3:30 p.m. (CT).

The Tide squad was in full pads for its second practice since the end of the regular season.

"Today was a good practice, practice went good," said interim head coach Joe Kines. "The meetings went good. It's good to have some tape to sit down and watch with them. A picture's worth a thousand words, it always has been. So it was good to watch a little tape and improve the mistakes we made the last time, see some stuff that Oklahoma State does." 

The team also held a practice session last Saturday, the day before they found out they would be facing the Cowboys in Shreveport, La. later this month. They have since had a week to watch film on their upcoming opponent from the Big 12 Conference.

"They're a really fine football team," said Kines. "Offensively, it's probably closer to Florida than anything else, because they do understand what they're doing with the option. They run the zone extremely well. They've got two quarterbacks you've got to prepare for. I'm glad we've got a little extra time, because it's going to take time. I thought the guys worked extremely hard today. We've played that before and they understand to bite the bullet and get it done and work on it."

Alabama has had two individuals post record-breaking numbers this season. Sophomore quarterback John Parker Wilson passed for a school-record 2,539 yards and 16 touchdowns while also setting school records with seven straight 200-yard games to start the year and nine 200-yard games for the season. Junior wide receiver DJ Hall became just the second wide receiver to tally 1,000 yards as he broke the record with 1,014 yards in 11 games. He also set records with five straight 100-yard games, seven total 100-yard games and 11 career 100-yard games.

Several Crimson Tide players have earned awards in 2006. Freshman tackle Andre Smith and freshman linebacker Prince Hall have each been tabbed Freshman All-Americans by The Sporting News (TSN) and They were also named to the TSN and SEC Coaches Freshman All-SEC squads along with freshman punter P.J. Fitzgerald. Freshman defensive back and kick returner Javier Arenas was also named to the TSN Freshman All-SEC team. Hall was named the SEC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year by The Sporting News. Junior cornerback Simeon Castille was named to the All-SEC first team by the Associated Press and the SEC Coaches. Sophomore center Antoine Caldwell and DJ Hall were each tabbed second team selections by the coaches.  

Alabama will continue to prepare for Oklahoma Sate next weekend with two more practices, Dec. 15-16. The Independence Bowl will mark the 54th bowl game in school history and third straight year the Tide has played in the postseason. They defeated Texas Tech 13-10 in the Cotton Bowl last season. The last time Alabama played in the Independence Bowl came in 2001 when they defeated Iowa State, 14-13.