TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The University of Alabama football team practiced in full pads for the final time in Tuscaloosa as they are just three days away from leaving for Shreveport, La. for the 2006 Petro Sun Independence Bowl.
"We tried to wrap things up a little bit today," said interim head coach Joe Kines. "We did some goal line stuff, short yardage stuff and some things that are really important to get done before we get there. Our offense was really sharp early in practice today when we went against each other, about as fine as a period as we have had in a long time. They really jumped out there and looked good and worked hard. You have to take your hat off to those guys. They have come to work every day. We really got some things done today."
The Tide will conduct its final practice in Tuscaloosa tomorrow morning. The team will then have Saturday off before they are expected to report in Shreveport Sunday afternoon.
"Tomorrow we will kick it and kick it a long time," said Kines. "We will hit all of those situations and try to wrap it up and then get ready to go down to Shreveport. We will polish it when we get there. Let these guys have a little bit of Christmas and then we will play us a game."
The Independence Bowl game on December 28 at 3:30 p.m. (CT) will mark Alabama's NCAA-leading 54th bowl appearance. They have also won more bowl games (30) than any other team in college football history. The Crimson Tide will face Oklahoma State for the first time in school history. The Cowboys will be the 33rd different bowl opponent for Alabama. The Tide are 13-15-2 all-time against teams currently in the Big 12 Conference. This will be the second straight year Alabama has played a Big 12 team in a bowl game as the Tide defeated Texas Tech, 13-10, in the 2006 AT&T Cotton Bowl in Dallas. This will also be the second time Alabama has played in the Independence Bowl. They defeated current Big 12 member Iowa State in 2001 game, 14-13.
This year's game will be televised by ESPN with Gary Thorne (play-by-play), Andre Ware (analyst) and Todd Harris (sideline reporter) calling the action from Independence Bowl Stadium.