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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2007
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ALABAMA, AUBURN NOTEBOOK

Alabama

TUSCALOOSA — Out with a shoulder injury since the second quarter, linebacker Darren Mustin wanted to go back on the field during Alabama’s 41-38 victory against Arkansas on Saturday.

There was only one problem: his helmet was missing. According to Mustin, the Crimson Tide’s medical staff took away his head gear, preventing him from re-entering the game.

“They took my pads off. They took my helmet. All I had was my jersey — and I can’t go in there with a jersey,” Mustin said. “I wasn’t friends with the doctors and trainers, and I’m still not, but they’re doing their job, so I can’t complain.”

Mustin practiced Monday with a black non-contact jersey.

When fellow linebacker Keith Saunders went down late in the game with what Alabama coach Nick Saban described as a shoulder “stinger,” Mustin pleaded with his friend to get up and act spry so he could stay in the game.

“I’m like, ‘Keith, man, do not come out. They won’t let you back in,’ ” Mustin said.

? For the 10th time in the school’s history, Alabama will host ESPN’s College Gameday. The show will air from 9-11 a.m. Saturday before the No. 16-ranked Crimson Tide faces No. 20 Georgia. The network made no announcement where the live show will broadcast from.

The last time the show came to Alabama was Nov. 12, 2005 when the Crimson Tide played LSU. Alabama was 9-0 coming into that game and lost to the Tigers 16-13 in overtime.

? Despite missing the second half with his injury against the Razorbacks, Mustin did enough to impress the coaching staff to garner defensive player of the week honors. He had five tackles against Arkansas and had an interception in the first quarter that set up Alabama’s first touchdown.

Wide receiver DJ Hall was the offensive player of the week after having a career-high 172 yards on six receptions. Place-kicker Leigh Tiffin was the special teams player of the week.

? Offensive lineman Justin Britt practiced in a black jersey Monday. Saban didn’t comment on the nature of Britt’s injury.

Hall, suffering from a strained quadriceps muscle was also in black. Saunders was not limited but did wear special shoulder pads.

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer

Auburn

AUBURN — Injuries have forced Auburn to play just four players at the three linebacker spots: three starters and a rotating man.

Auburn was again without starting linebacker Tray Blackmon against Mississippi State on Saturday. Blackmon twisted his ankle in the opener and may not play this week. Linebacker Merrill Johnson, who suffered a shoulder bruise against South Florida, will also be out this week and probably next.

“You have those injuries,” Auburn linebackers coach James Willis said. “That’s why in training camp, spring practice and off-season, you always try to develop everybody you have in your room.”

Head coach Tommy Tuberville said the injury situation at linebacker has put “us in a tailspin.”

Chris Evans replaced Blackmon at the middle linebacker spot, but Tuberville said Evans would be “much more productive” as an outside linebacker.

The remaining uninjured starter is outside linebacker Craig Stevens. Courtney Harden has taken the place of Johnson at the other outside linebacker spot and the rotating player is true freshman Bo Harris.

Tuberville said another true freshman, Josh Bynes, is still being looked at to play a backup role. But when questioned about Bynes, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said, “We’re going to hold with what we’ve got at linebacker.”

The Tigers were also hurt by Steve Gandy’s exit from the team during preseason practice. Gandy suffered his fourth and final concussion during August and decided to leave the team. He was considered a candidate to back up Johnson.

? Auburn’s game at Florida on Sept. 29 will be televised by either CBS at 4 p.m. or by ESPN at 7 p.m., a university statement said Monday. A decision has not been made because CBS elected to wait until this week’s games conclude before deciding.

Other conference vs. conference games that Saturday competing for the network’s coverage are Ole Miss at Georgia and Mississippi State at South Carolina.

Auburn’s game against New Mexico State this Saturday will be televised on pay-per-view. Call your local cable company for details on how to get the broadcast.

Ross Dellenger,
Daily sports writer

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