Wednesday, December 29, 2004
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --The final practice for two University of Alabama seniors became more significant as defensive end Todd Bates (Heflin) and left tackle Wesley Britt (Cullman) were presented as the 2004 permanent team captains by Coach Mike Shula just prior to the last practice of bowl week.
"That was neat to see, especially for Todd," Shula said. "Todd and Wes are both leaders on this football team. They lead by example. They lead before the game, during the game and after the game. They are leaders each day at practice, which is most important. They lead because of their whole personalities."
Shula said that the team elected the two senior captains by a vote at the team meeting on Thursday morning.
"It's a big honor," Bates said. "I have seen all the other guys since my freshman year and what it meant to them. It is something that I have dreamed about everyday, but diminished a little after I had the little trouble last year.
"I will always cherish this moment. It was so nice to hear coach (Mike) Shula call my name before practice today."
Bates started all 11 games for the Crimson Tide this season and posted 42 tackles, including 5 1/2 sacks and eight total TFLs.
"This is a great honor," Britt said. "This is the highest honor I have received as an Alabama football player. It makes it even more special to know that my teammates picked me.
"To be able to put my hand and footprints at Denny Chimes along with Joe Namath, Kenny Stabler, Shaun Alexander, Chris Samuels and all the other guys that were fortunate enough to be selected captain is a great thrill.
Britt started all 11 games for Alabama this season and earned consensus All-SEC honors. Britt also earned All-America honors this season He finished the season with 578 snaps and became the 19th player in school history to win the Jacobs Award, presented annually the best blocker in the SEC.
PRACTICE NOTES: Alabama worked for one hour in helmets and sweats on Wednesday as they wrapped up their preparation for Friday's Music City Bowl game with Minnesota.
"This was probably our best practice," Shula said. "The guys were really into it today. We talked to them one last time about going over all their stuff because it has been so long since we have played a game.
"The execution was really good. We talked to them some more about really getting zeroed in for this game. There are a lot of things they need to do mentally over the next 40 hours to ready to play."