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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2007
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College Football Notebook

Alabama

? Left tackle Justin Britt addressed reporters for the first time since his mother, Vera, was involved in a accident during Alabama’s homecoming weekend.

According to Britt, his mother was standing up on the back of a “glorified golf cart” when the driver took off. Vera fell head first onto the pavement and cracked her skull in five spots. She has undergone two brain surgeries since Oct. 7.

Britt said was asleep when his sister and his father called him to tell him the news. He missed practice all last week and came back Monday.

“It’s hard. It was really hard, especially at first. Monday, when I came back, I had been with her every day. It was extremely hard to be back,” he said. “My heart was still at the hospital. Now that she’s stable, and she told me she wanted me to go to work. My heart’s here with football and with the football team and my teammates. I’m ready to go.”

According to Britt, Vera had a 15 percent chance to live a week ago.

On Tuesday, he said, she grabbed a toothbrush and started playing with her teeth. She is responding to everyone and knows everyone’s names.

She is in intensive care at Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham, and, according to Britt, is making progress.

“She’s making huge steps every day,” he said. “She’s recovering.”

In terms of playing this weekend, Britt said he’s going to do whatever the coaches feel is best for him. He goes back to the hospital every night to see his mother and says he has more motivation when he goes out on the field.

“I’m going to do it for my mom,” Britt said. “I’m ready for whatever they want to give me. I trust whatever decision they make.”

? Another game with a Tennessee team means another weird connection for Darren Mustin.

Earlier in the year, when Alabama played Vanderbilt, Mustin, a Brentwood, Tenn., native, fielded questions on whether his mother, who received a graduate degree from Vanderbilt, would be rooting for him. Now it’s his older sister, Dametria, who graduated from Tennessee in 2003.

For the Vanderbilt game, Mustin knew that his mother would root for him. For this game, he isn’t 100 percent positive what Dametria will do.

“She’s a Darren fan and a UT fan, so I don’t know how to take that,” Mustin said. “I just hope we win, so I can throw it in her face. She wants me to have a good game. I talk to her, and she starts talking about
Tennessee, and I just say ‘OK, bye.’ ”

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer

Auburn

AUBURN — True freshman running back Mario Fannin had three carries Saturday against Arkansas and played about eight snaps, coach Tommy Tuberville said. Sophomore Ben Tate and starter Brad Lester did the bulk of the running, carrying the ball a combined 44 times for 180 yards.

Tuberville said the distribution of carries is determined during the week of practice leading up the game. Fannin, who gained 10 yards on those three carries, has his chance this week to show the coaching staff he deserves more playing time.

“We’re going to play the ones who are getting it done in practice and in the games,” he said. “Mario could be one of those guys this week. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Lester returned from a six-game suspension two weeks ago, cluttering the backfield. History shows that Tuberville likes to give two running backs the workload. Just a month ago, the coach said that two running backs will get 12 to 15 carries per game.

“You can’t play them all,” Tuberville said.

? Tuberville said his team reverted to more physical practices serveral weeks ago. It wasn’t punishment for the team’s sloppy 1-2 start but more for the “younger guys,” Tuberville said.

“You can’t get your fundamentals intact unless you practice,” Tuberville said. “Our best players go against our best players on both sides of the ball.”

Tuberville calls this era in Auburn football “the youth movement.” With physical practices he is trying to better those 26 redshirt and true freshmen Auburn has used this season.

“Very few teams probably hit as much as we do,” said Tuberville, who noted the intense practices will continue. ??????????????????????????????????????? Tuberville told reporters that tackle Ryan Pugh was the lone injured starter who did not practice Wednesday. Tuberville said Pugh would make the trip to Baton Rouge, La., but is “doubtful.”

Pugh sprained his ankle in Auburn’s win at Arkansas last week.

Linebacker Merrill Johnson (shoulder), defensive end Quentin Groves (toes) and safety Aairon Savage (knee) practiced Wednesday. Tuberville said Johnson is “a lot better this week.” He said Groves is not 100 percent but “looked better than he looked last week.” Savage is pretty close to being fully healthy, the coach said.

Ross Dellenger,
Daily sports writer

UAB

BIRMINGHAM. — UAB (2-4, 1-1 C-USA) continued its work towards Saturday’s bout with Conference USA foe Houston (3-3, 2-1) and after a two-hour practice, coach Neil Callaway alled the practice “average.”

“It was just kind of an average practice really,” Callaway said.

“We worked a lot on our preparations for Houston and did few competitive things. Today’s practice wasn’t that spectacular, but it wasn’t anything that bad.”

UAB and Houston will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday at Legion Field.

South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. — One streak intact, one very tough one to keep Saturday.

Steve Spurrier kept his record over Kentucky a perfect 15-0 with a win over the then-eighth-ranked Wildcats on Oct. 4. Now, South Carolina’s head ball coach looks to keep a similar streak going when the sixth-ranked Gamecocks (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) go up against another team he has never lost to, Vanderbilt (3-3, 1-3).

Spurrier has won all 14 games he has coached against the Commodores. But, much like Kentucky, Spurrier expects a stout Vanderbilt club eager to finally end a run that began in 1987 with Duke’s 35-31.

He went 2-0 against Vanderbilt while with the Blue Devils, 10-0 during his 12-year run at Florida and won both meetings since joining South Carolina before the 2005 season.

The only other SEC team winless against Spurrier is Ole Miss at 0-2. The Gamecocks don’t play the Rebels this season.

From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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