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Alabama Practices in Dome; Visits Children's Hospital

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM John Parker Wilson and the Tide practiced for the second straight day in the Superdome.
John Parker Wilson and the Tide practiced for the second straight day in the Superdome.

Dec. 30, 2008

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NEW ORLEANS - The Alabama football team continued to put the final touches on its preparations for the 75th Allstate Sugar Bowl as they worked out in shells during a two-hour practice inside the Louisiana Superdome on Tuesday.

It was the Crimson Tide's fourth practice since arriving in New Orleans on Saturday and the second straight day that the Tide worked inside the Superdome. Alabama worked on all aspects of the game, including a heavy dose of special teams work.

The Tide has had several opportunities to enjoy the city this week, including a Saints football game in the Superdome on Sunday and a trip to the New Orleans Arena on Tuesday night for a Hornets basketball game.

"(Coach Saban) told us that it's a business trip, but at the same time, take time to see the city and enjoy yourself," Alabama free safety Rashad Johnson told reporters during Tuesday's defensive press conference. "It's been a lot of fun. This is my first time in the city of New Orleans, so I'm enjoying myself."

The Crimson Tide Bowl Preview will be broadcast from the Armstrong Room on the eighth floor of the Sheraton Hotel in downtown New Orleans on Wednesday, Dec. 31, from 6-8 p.m. Tyler Watts, Barry Krauss and Tom Roberts will be hosting the show and will be joined by Alabama head coach Nick Saban from 7-8 p.m.

Following Tuesday's practice a large contingent of the Alabama team also boarded team buses for a visit to the Children's Hospital in New Orleans. The Tide players spent time visiting with children throughout the hospital and giving out Alabama hats with the Sugar Bowl logo.

"It puts football in perspective when you go to a hospital and see kids that have been there (in the hospital) anywhere from a week to years," Crimson Tide running back Glen Coffee said. "It really lets you know that the sport we play is little in comparison to life's real problems."

"Getting to come to a bowl game and getting to do stuff like this is great," Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson said. "It is so rewarding for us to come here and see these kids and try to brighten their day. A lot of the guys on the team came here and it is really good to see everybody trying to give back."

"It is always a humbling experience to see these amazing kids," Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer said. "It is nice to spend a little time with these kids that are in a hospital room all the time. To see the smiles on their faces when we come in a room is something special. It is a great feeling and something we look forward to every year."