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According to Alabama players, Tide head coach Nick Saban has been encouraging after suffering two straight losses.
AP photo
According to Alabama players, Tide head coach Nick Saban has been encouraging after suffering two straight losses.

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Alabama

TUSCALOOSA — Sometimes it sounds as if Alabama coach Nick Saban is trying to give reporters pep talks during his weekly news conference.

When asked about post-game “finger-pointing,” Saban responded Monday by giving a baseball analogy.

He said that he asks the players, when choosing sides to play a sandlot game, whether they would pick themselves to be on their own teams.

“What do you want to pick in a player? What are you looking for? The guy that’s intense and ready to play? Somebody who is going to be responsible to do his job all of the time? Somebody who’s going to have a positive influence by his energy on other guys on the team?” Saban asked. “Or do you want somebody who wears baggy britches and is your buddy and is undisciplined and doesn’t care?”

According to the Crimson Tide’s players, after suffering two straight losses, Saban has been more encouraging than reprimanding.

“He realizes, just like I realize, we’ve lost one SEC game,” Alabama center Antoine Caldwell said. “We’ve taken two on the chin and we can bounce back this weekend and hopefully get that winning feeling again.”

  • Saturday was a costly loss for Alabama as the Tide lost a starting defensive end. Bobby Greenwood sprained his ankle against Florida State and spent Monday’s practice riding an exercise bike while wearing a black non-contact jersey.

    Saban said an MRI and X-ray didn’t reveal any major structural damage but that it was a “good sprain and a pretty good bruise.”

    Brandon Deaderick will replace Greenwood in the lineup. Deaderick has eight tackles this season and set a career high with four against the Seminoles.

    “Depth at that position has been critical for us all year,” Saban said.

    Wide receiver Keith Brown and tight end Travis McCall have recovered from what Saban called “head injuries” and practiced Monday.

  • Alabama’s Oct. 13 game at Ole Miss will be broadcast by Lincoln Financial Sports, according to a university release. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m., and WZDX-54 will carry the broadcast locally.

    Lincoln Financial also televised the Alabama-Vanderbilt game earlier this season.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer

    Auburn

    AUBURN — Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said he wanted to use true freshman quarterback Kodi Burns more Saturday during the 20-17 win at Florida, but the passing game was working too well to take out starter Brandon Cox.

    So instead, Tuberville put Burns at receiver. But Auburn targeted the freshman with a pass only once. He dropped the ball.

    “I thought he did a good job on the goal line on the touchdown run,” Tuberville said. “We had a couple other things in there, putting him at wide receiver. We’ll continue to do things like that.”

    Burns came in for fewer than five plays. He scored Auburn’s first touchdown of the game on a 6-yard keeper up the middle. He finished with three rushes for 10 yards and didn’t attempt a pass.

    “We still have to get Kodi the ball some, have to get it in his hands and give him the opportunity to make big plays for us,” Tuberville said. “He’ll continue to be a big part of our offense. Some games it will be very little; sometimes it will be a lot.”

  • Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said his defense allowed just three “big plays” — 20 or more yards — to Florida’s offense Saturday night. Muschamp said the Gators were getting 10 to 12 big plays a game.

    “They got frustrated because they couldn’t make big plays,” Muschamp said. “They’re a big-play offense. They thrive off chunks of yardage down the field.”

    Florida came into Saturday’s game as the sixth-ranked offense in the nation, averaging 49 points a game. The Gators finished with 17 and were shut out at the half. Muschamp credited most of that to his squad’s best tackling game so far this season.

    The Tigers missed just five tackles en route to slowing down Florida’s potent running game with quarterback Tim Tebow and versatile receiver Percy Harvin. Muschamp credited defensive tackles Josh Thompson and Pat Sims for that.

    “I told guys going in that they were going to be key,” he said. “We made them bleed for the yards.”

  • Wes Byrum’s game-winning 43-yard field goal Saturday night has been nominated as one of four “Pontiac Game Changing Performances” of the week.

    Fans can determine the winner by voting for one of the plays online at www.pontiac.com/ncaa. Voting began Sunday and will end at midnight Wednesday. ESPN will announce this week’s winner Thursday night during halftime of the Kentucky-South Carolina game.

    The winning university earns $5,000 contribution from Pontiac to their general scholarship fund. Also, the winner will compete in the “Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year” award with the chance to win a $100,000 General Scholarship from Pontiac.

    Auburn won the yearly award in 2006 for its blocked punt in a 27-17 win over then-No. 2 Florida. Decatur native Jerraud Powers blocked the punt, and running back Tre Smith returned it for a touchdown.

    Byrum was also named the Lou Groza Star of the Week for the second time this season and was named the SEC special teams player of the week.

  • Auburn’s game at Arkansas on Oct. 13 will be televised by ESPN at 6:45 p.m.

    The Tigers have appeared on ESPN already twice this season, winning at home in its season-opener against Kansas State and then beating Florida on Saturday.

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writer

    Tennessee

    KNOXVILLE — Tennessee reserve linebacker Dorian Davis was cited for fighting in his Iowa hometown during an off-week that coach Phillip Fulmer hoped his Volunteers would use to get ready for 12th-ranked Georgia.

    The 20-year-old sophomore, who has played in all 16 of his career games at Tennessee, mostly on special teams, was charged with disorderly conduct Saturday evening in Iowa City.

    Davis “showed up” at the apartment of an acquaintance, Charles Jones, 21, and “got into a verbal altercation with him,” a police report said. “The defendant then pushed and struck the victim. The defendant admitted to the incident.”

    Florida

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 9 Florida will be without offensive tackle Phil Trautwein and freshman running back Chris Rainey for the rest of the season.

    And the Gators could be without long-snapper James Smith and backup guard Maurice Hurt at top-ranked LSU on Saturday.

    Trautwein, a senior captain who started every game for the national champions last season, missed the first five games this year because of a stress fracture in his right foot. The Gators (4-1) had hoped he would be able to return, but coach Urban Meyer said Monday he was done for the season.

    Trautwein is expected to receive a medical redshirt and return next season.

    Rainey, one of numerous freshmen playing for the Gators, injured his shoulder and was expected to have surgery soon. He returned one kickoff for 39 yards, one punt for 22 yards and had one carry for 10 yards.

    Smith and Hurt, meanwhile, missed practice Monday. Smith was wearing a protective boot on his right foot while Hurt was wearing a neck brace to help recover from a stinger.

    Memphis

    MEMPHIS — A University of Memphis football player was fatally shot on campus in what police believe was a targeted attack, and classes were canceled Monday as a precaution.

    Taylor Bradford, 21, apparently was shot near a university housing complex about 9:45 p.m. Sunday and then crashed a car he was driving into a tree a short distance away on campus, officials said.

    “We found him with a bullet wound to the body and the ambulance took him to the hospital where he was pronounced (dead),” said Roger Prewitt, a Memphis Police inspector.

    Detectives investigating the shooting received reports of gunfire being heard in a parking lot of the housing complex about 200 yards from where Bradford was found, police spokeswoman Monique Martin said.

    Homicide detectives were unsure of a motive for the shooting and had no suspects, she said. “That’s all still under investigation,” she said.

    Bradford, a 5-foot-11, 300-pound defensive lineman, was a junior who transferred to Memphis after two seasons at Samford University in Birmingham

    The Memphis Tigers host Marshall University on Tuesday night. A moment of silence was planned before the game.

    Texas

    AUSTIN, Texas — Texas quarterback Colt McCoy will play against No. 10 Oklahoma this weekend after showing signs of a concussion and being taken out of the game in a loss to Kansas State on Saturday.

    “I feel fine,” McCoy said Monday, adding he was given a battery of tests by team doctors.

    McCoy threw four interceptions in his worst game for No. 19 Texas (4-1, 0-1 Big 12) in the 41-21 defeat. He was hit hard and slammed to the turf by the Wildcats’ Clayton Cox late in the second quarter and went to the locker room early.

    He returned at the start of the third quarter and led Texas to a touchdown. But by late in the fourth, McCoy was vomiting on the sideline and trainer Kenny Boyd said he was immediately removed from the game.

    Southern Mississippi

    JACKSON, Miss. — Expected Southern Mississippi starter Stephen Reaves may not play Wednesday against Rice after straining a muscle.

    Coach Jeff Bower said Reaves’ status will be a game-time decision, but he is preparing third-string quarterback Martevious Young to play in the game, which will be televised by ESPN2. Reaves missed practice Sunday and Monday.

    Southeastern Conference

    BIRMINGHAM — Auburn cornerback Jerraud Powers and place-kicker Wes Byrum and Georgia tailback Thomas Brown earned Southeastern Conference player of the week honors Monday.

    Brown rushed for career highs of 180 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in Georgia’s 45-17 win over Mississippi to receive the offensive award.

    Kentucky tackle Garry Williams was the offensive lineman of the week while Arkansas end Damario Ambrose claimed the defensive line award.

    South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley was the freshman of the week.

    UAB

    BIRMINGHAM — UAB announced Monday that it will play a home-and-home series with Ole Miss with the Blazers traveling to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss. in 2009 and the Rebels coming to Birmingham during the 2012 season.

    Ole Miss will be just the second SEC school to play UAB in Birmingham. UAB is currently in the midst of a five-game series with Mississippi State with three games in Starkville and two at Legion Field.

    When UAB plays MSU in Starkville, Miss., on Saturday, the game will mark the Blazers’ 12th contest against SEC competition.

    All but one of those, however, has been played away from Birmingham.

    The Associated Press

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