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College Football Notebook

Alabama

If first-year Alabama coach Nick Saban is trying to build mental toughness with the team, he must be getting a pretty good assist from the heat.

Temperatures once again peaked at about 100 degrees in Tuscaloosa as the Crimson Tide had its third two-a-day session of preseason practice.

“We started off pretty good but we have a lot to work on,” linebacker Darren Mustin said. “We need to work on finishing a lot of things. When something goes wrong, we need to work on playing through it and when something goes right, we need to learn to keep it up the entire time.”

After Saturday’s scrimmage, Saban said the Tide defense needs to improve.

Alabama practices every day this week, culminating with its second scrimmage of the preseason Saturday.

Its next two-a-day session is Wednesday.

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer

Auburn

AUBURN — The Auburn football team got a break from the daytime heat with back-to-back night practices Sunday and Monday, but that didn’t stop the injury list from growing.

Starting center Jason Bosley suffered a knee injury Sunday night, but it was diagnosed Monday as only a sprain, according to Rivals.com.

The junior joins several players on the injury list, including quarterback Steve Ensminger, who hurt his shoulder in Sunday’s scrimmage, but returned to practice Monday.

Quarterback Neil Caudle also injured his shoulder in the scrimmage. Tuberville told Rivals.com on Sunday night that Caudle will be out “at least four weeks.”

Offensive tackle Andrew McCain returned to practice Sunday after missing four days because of a concussion.

Other players who missed Monday’s practice because of injuries included linebacker Bo Harris (shoulder), defensive back Jonathan Vickers (ankle), receiver Montez Billings (hamstring), punter Ryan Shoemaker, running back Carl Stewart (hamstring), running back Tristan Davis (toe) and Caudle. Vickers is an Athens native.

“It was a good day of practice,” Tuberville said after Monday night’s practice. “We got a little break in the weather, and we’ll do the same thing the next couple of days.”

The Tigers will practice for the 13th straight day Tuesday and will hold their final two-a-days Wednesday. The team will get its first off day Thursday, the opening day of classes.

Ross Dellenger,
Daily Sports Writer

Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas receiver Marcus Monk will be out for four to six weeks with a knee injury, the Razorbacks’ athletic trainer announced Monday.

Monk underwent an arthroscopy on his right knee Monday to repair a small tear he suffered at practice last week, trainer Dean Weber said.

Monk was initially diagnosed with a bone bruise after hurting his knee at practice Thursday.

Monk will be out four to six weeks with the injury, missing the Razorbacks’ Sept. 1 home opener against Troy, Weber said. The Razorbacks have the week of Sept. 8 off, travel to Alabama Sept. 15 and host Kentucky on Sept. 22.

Weber said there was no ligament damage to Monk’s knee, and that an update on the receiver’s condition will not be given until Aug. 27.

Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s season opener against Western Kentucky has been moved from 6 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. to accommodate one of the Southeastern Conference’s television partners.

The defending national champions prefer to play early season home games at night, hoping to reduce the number of heat-related problems for players, coaches and fans.

But Lincoln Financial Sports needed a game to televise Sept. 1, and asked the Gators to make the switch.

The network asked Florida to do the same thing last year, but school officials were hesitant to move the game into the hottest part of the day. Lincoln Financial ended up using another option.

“This year, they had no other alternatives other than to ask us to move our game time, and we are contractually obligated to do so,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said.

Lincoln Financial selects games involving SEC teams after CBS and ESPN make their respective selections. ESPN will televise the Kansas State-Auburn game Sept. 1, and ESPN2 will carry Oklahoma State-Georgia. CBS does not begin televising conference games until the Florida-Tennessee game on Sept. 15.

Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky junior defensive end Nii Adjei Oninku injured his knee in a weekend scrimmage and will be out for the season, coach Rich Brooks said Monday.

An MRI exam Monday confirmed tears of the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments, the school said in a statement.

“I feel really bad for Nii Adjei because he has worked so hard and played a lot of productive football for us,” Brooks said.

Oninku played in 12 games last season, starting five, and made 12 tackles. He entered preseason practice as a starter at defensive end.

Toldeo

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo coach Tom Amstutz spoke to his team just once about point-shaving allegations leveled against a former teammate.

“After that it was over,” tight end Chris Hopkins said. “It was done.”

The Rockets, from their coach on down, insist they won’t be distracted this season even though it’s not clear whether a federal investigation will yield more accusations against the team.

Charges against former Rockets running back Harvey “Scooter” McDougle Jr. were dropped in April. But the FBI says the case is still open and that they still could refile the charges.

Investigators in March charged McDougle with recruiting Toledo players to take part in a point-shaving scheme orchestrated by a Detroit area gambler. McDougle has denied doing anything wrong, and
no other players have been named.

Amstutz said he doesn’t think there is cloud hanging over the Rockets, a team that has been among the best in the Mid-American Conference over the last decade.

Houston

HOUSTON — Houston offensive lineman Jerrod Butler passed out while lifting weights Monday but was recovering at a Houston hospital.

The 20-year-old Butler lost consciousness about 9 a.m. and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was doing well, said associate athletic director Chris Burkhalter. Butler was listed in stable condition Monday afternoon.

Trainer Mike O’Shea told Houston television station KRIV that a heart defibrillator was used to stabilize Butler in the weight room.

Jacksonville State

JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville State football team completed its first two-a-day practice session Monday afternoon and is now set for its first scrimmage of the season Tuesday at Paul Snow Stadium.

The Gamecocks hit the field at 6:15 a.m. for an early morning session and then battled the 100-plus degree heat at 3:30 p.m. for the second workout.

JSU head coach Jack Crowe said Monday’s two-a-day was designed to prepare his team for Tuesday’s scrimmage, which will begin at 10:30 a.m.

“We’ll look to get 60 snaps with our 56 players that will play in the game,” Crowe
said.

“We’re pretty close there at identifying those guys. The interesting part of this is we have 15 redshirt guys that have never been put into a game situation like this before, and I’m looking to see who can make plays.”

UAB

BIRMINGHAM — The UAB football team practiced twice Monday, with the Blazers going through an 18-period session in the morning where they donned full pads, followed by another 18-period practice in the afternoon in shoulder pads and shorts.

“I was disappointed in this morning,” head coach Neil Callaway said after the second workout.

“It’s been hot, but if we’re going to be a good football team, we’ve got to get through adversity.”

From Staff, Wire Reports

Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
AP contributed to this report.

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