Countdown to Kickoff
Crimson Tide Football Returns to Practice Field


Friday, December 17, 2004

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama football team returned to the practice field for the first time in four weeks as preparation for the 2004 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl got underway Friday afternoon.
The Crimson Tide, fresh off a week of final exams for the fall semester, worked for nearly two hours in helmets, shoulder pads and sweats in the first workout of the postseason.
"It feels good to be back on the field with our own guys, with our own family," Alabama head coach Mike Shula said.  "All of our coaches have been on the road, working hard on the recruiting trail."
Most of the first day of practice was spent getting back into the groove of football practice after the layoff.
"We spent most of the day, pretty much Alabama vs. Alabama, so to speak," Shula added.  "We did not do much against Minnesota, but we will do that in the next couple of practices.  We have already gotten a lot of work done in preparing for Minnesota.  We will introduce the gameplan to our players, too.  I think some of the players have been up on their own watching tapes. 
"Overall today, it was good.  Obviously, a little rusty at times.  We got a good dose of conditioning in afterwards.  We need to get focused in on getting ourselves better and as we get closer, we will focus more and more on Minnesota."
While the team has not practiced in nearly one month, Shula was pleased with the conditioning of his football team.
"The one thing that stood out today, in my mind, was they have worked hard over the last few weeks to stay in shape," Shula added.  "Our younger guys need to watch some of the older guys on how they work and everything they do this week.  We had more younger guys take turns today than we probably have since training camp."
The team will work twice on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m as bowl practice continues on campus through Dec. 23.