News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



SHREVEPORT, La. — Alabama interim head coach Joe Kines and Oklahoma State have some history. In 1994 when the Cowboys had a coaching vacancy, Kines made the list of finalists.

The job eventually went to Bob Simmons, who coached in Stillwater, Okla., until 2000. Simmons posted a 30-38 record in six seasons and had only one winning year, going 8-4 in 1997.

When asked if he had any ill will toward OSU, Kines responded as Kines only could.

"If my mom married John D. Rockefeller, my name would be Joe Rockefeller and I would write you all a check," Kines said.

"That happened a long time ago and at that point in time it was big. But there has been an awful lot of water that has gone down since then."

Gundy not a Tide candidate: For anyone who might have wondered if Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has an interest in the Alabama, he revealed some bad news Tuesday.

As an interview session wound down, a reporter asked Gundy if he wanted to coach at Alabama. It didn't take long for the 1990 Oklahoma State graduate to say no.

But earlier, he had some kind words for the Crimson Tide.

"There are people out there who would be very honored to be the coach of Alabama," Gundy said.

"It has to be one of the top-10 programs in the history of college football."

Different scheduling: According to Kines, the Crimson Tide used to wait until after final exams to start practicing.

But in order to lessen the inevitable rust that comes with a long layoff, he changed the schedule and had the team start working on weekends before finals.

Will the strategy pay off? The team will find out Thursday.

"It's like baking a cake," Kines said.

"You get all the ingredients in there and get the oven the right temperature. If you do that, that thing is going to come out right."

Josh Cooper, Daily Sports Writer

Boise State

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Boise State arrived in BCS country on Tuesday. Now the Broncos are out to prove it's where they belong.

Boise State left frigid Idaho and landed in sun-soaked Arizona to begin preparations for its Fiesta Bowl matchup against Oklahoma. The Broncos were denied the traditional Fiesta airport greeting, that includes a mariachi band and a throng of yellow jacket-clad bowl volunteers, because the charter went to a different part of the airport.

Still, it was a memorable occasion for the unbeaten Western Athletic Conference team in its season-long quest to make it to a Bowl Championship Series game.

"I do think other schools and people may have doubts about Boise State — us being from the WAC, which in other people's opinions has lesser schools," linebacker David Shields said. "I really do think we have something to prove, which is why I am so glad we are playing Oklahoma, which is one of the premier programs that has been around for a very long time."

Coach Chris Petersen said about 30 players were on the charter. The other 45 or so were making their own way to Phoenix for a late-afternoon meeting followed by a team dinner. One player, offensive tackle Dan Gore, was stranded in Pasco, Wash., the coach said, and didn't expect to get to Arizona until tonight.

The Broncos begin practice today at Scottsdale Community College. Oklahoma arrived Monday night and is practicing at a North Phoenix high school.

The Jan. 1 contest between his ninth-ranked Broncos (12-0) and No. 7 Oklahoma (11-2) arguably is the biggest game in Boise State history and certainly the biggest in Petersen's six seasons at the school — five as offensive coordinator and one as head coach.


ATLANTA — Georgia ended a four-day holiday break Tuesday by holding its first practice at the Georgia Dome for Saturday's Chick-fil-A Bowl against Virginia Tech.

Coach Mark Richt, who last year learned too late that he gave his team too much time off for Christmas, said this year his players returned to practice in good physical condition.

"We had a lot of enthusiasm, and for the last practice in pads, we got out of it what we needed," Richt said. "We looked sharp and knew what to do. I was pleased."

Georgia fell behind early before losing to West Virginia in last season's Sugar Bowl, also held at the Georgia Dome.

Richt announced that sophomore backup offensive linemen Seth Watts has been suspended for the game.

"He just did not behave well enough to play in this game," Richt said. Richt did not offer more details.

Richt said Watts' suspension is only for the bowl game. He can rejoin the team for spring practice, but Georgia will have only six offensive lineman for the bowl game.

Backup center Ian Smith also is suspended for the bowl and the first five games of next season after his second alcohol related arrest this year. The team's only scholarship backup lineman is Michael Turner.

Richt said a tight end may be pressed into duty on the line in an emergency.

The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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