News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

College Football Notebook


TUSCALOOSA — Alabama coach Nike Saban is quick to lay blame on himself when he messes up. After Saturday’s 27-24 win over Ole Miss, Saban took responsibility for the Tide’s fake field goal late in the fourth quarter that could have put Alabama up by six against the Rebels.

Instead, holder P.J. Fitzgerald lost 5 yards on fourth-and-four, and Ole Miss took possession on its 14-yard line with 3:05 left.

“The fake field goal was a bad call because it didn’t work,” Saban said. “But the reason it didn’t work is one of the guys didn’t block his guy. They didn’t have enough guys over there.

Saban did not say which player missed his block, but indicated that poor execution botched the play.

? With Alabama left guard Justin Britt not playing Saturday and Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy having a field day against the Crimson Tide — 13 tackles, 41/2 for lost yardage and three sacks — Saban changed his protection scheme ever so slightly.

He replaced Mike Johnson at right tackle with Chris Capps in the fourth quarter. The difference between the two was not apparent during the short time Capps was in, but it was a big step for Capps, whose last major action came in last year’s Iron Bowl, when he gave up two sacks to Auburn defensive end Quentin Groves.

On both plays, Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson fumbled, and Auburn scored 14 points off the turnovers.

“Chris Capps has been playing well,” Saban said. “We have been looking for an opportunity to give him some more playing time. We put him in for a few plays last week. It’s another one of those situations now where a guy doesn’t have to be doing bad for somebody else to get an opportunity to play.”

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer


For the first time this season, Auburn emerged from a game without any serious injuries. Head coach Tommy Tuberville said Sunday true freshman tackle Ryan Pugh “rolled his ankle” in the third quarter of Saturday’s 9-7 win over Arkansas.

Tuberville said an MRI on Sunday showed that Pugh is “fine.”

“He has a little bit of swelling,” Tuberville said. “He’s just going to be real, real sore.”

Tuberville said he will know more Tuesday about Pugh’s playing status for Saturday’s game at LSU.

A hard hit on quarterback Brandon Cox in the third quarter by Arkansas resulted in “a bunch” of stitches to the senior’s chin. Also, Tuberville said tight end Gabe McKenzie left the game in the second half because of the “stomach flu.”

Auburn entered the contest with Arkansas with five injured starters. Although none was expected to play, two started and one played sparingly.

Center Jason Bosley (knee) and linebacker Tray Blackmon (ankle) started for Auburn. Linebacker Merrill Johnson entered the game for “one play.”

Tuberville said safety Aairon Savage (knee) “should get some more plays” this week, but he was unclear on defensive end Quentin Groves’ status. Groves dislocated three toes in the third quarter against Florida and hasn’t played since. However, he dressed out Saturday.

“Don’t know a lot about Quentin Groves,” Tuberville said Sunday.

? Auburn’s win at Arkansas was not only the team’s eighth straight road victory, but the 15th straight while wearing all-white uniforms. But the Tigers won’t get to wear their normal away-white uniforms this Saturday at LSU.

Unlike most home teams, LSU traditionally wears white uniforms, meaning Auburn will sport its blue jerseys. Tuberville said it’s something decided before the season begins, and it’s the home team’s choice.

“NCAA rule says that’s not the way you do it, but our athletic directors (in the SEC) went against that rule, so now the home team gets to pick whatever,” Tuberville said. “Used to, you had to agree with it, but now they get to pick.”

? Tuberville was asked about running back Brad Lester winning his starting role back Saturday. He answered the question with a question.

“Did he start? I didn’t even recognize it. I watch the offensive and defensive lines most of the time,” he said. “That’s up to (running backs coach) Eddie (Gran). It might have been the play that was called, the situation we were in, where we were at.”

Lester, who ended a six-game suspension last week, replaced sophomore Ben Tate as the Tigers’ starter, rushing for 89 yards on 21 carries.

? Decatur High grad Jerraud Powers was recognized by Auburn coaches as the special teams player of the week. A starting cornerback, Powers had four tackles, one for loss and a game-ending interception Saturday against the Razorbacks.

Ross Dellenger,
Daily sports writer


KNOXVILLE — Tennessee wide receiver Lucas Taylor and tailback LaMarcus Coker were expected to miss several days following injuries sustained in the Vols’ 33-21 victory over Mississippi State, coach Phillip Fulmer said Sunday.

However, he said both should be ready to play when No. 20 Tennessee takes on Alabama next Saturday.

Taylor is nursing a sore toe from Saturday’s game and Coker sustained a concussion.

Taylor’s 186-yard performance against Mississippi State moved him into the top position in the Southeastern Conference with an average of 103 yards per game.


ATLANTA — Kregg Lumpkin may have taken his final handoff for the Bulldogs.

The injury plagued senior sustained a serious knee injury in Georgia’s 20-17 victory over Vanderbilt, coach Mark Richt said Sunday.

“He may or may not finish the season,” Richt said. “He’s got a significant injury to the knee. He’s not going to play anytime soon.”

The No. 21 Bulldogs already lost Thomas Brown for at least four weeks, leaving redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno as the main option at running back. Moreno rushed for 157 yards in his first career start.

The Associated Press

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

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