News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



AUBURN — Reserve defensive end Antoine Carter is ready for Quentin Groves to graduate. In fact, the true freshman is nearly pushing Groves out the door.

“He’s almost gone,” Carter said. “He’s getting ready to leave. I’ll be stepping up for him, playing a big part.”

As the youngest player on the team, Carter has proven he has no fear. Talking this way about one of Auburn’s veteran players is awfully risky.

“I’ve just been thinking about it,” he said.

While Groves missed two games with an injury, Carter saw substantial playing time, alternating with Antonio Coleman, who replaced Groves as the starting end. Coaches have praised Coleman and Carter for their consistent play in backup roles to Groves.

Coach Tommy Tuberville even said earlier in the month that there is not much dropoff between Groves and the two. A sophomore, Coleman is the expected heir to Groves’ position, but he should have serious competition with the fiesty 17-year-old Carter.

When asked if he was surprised about how big of a role he has played in his first year, Carter said, “When I look back and watch film, I never thought it’d be this easy.”

? True freshman Ryan Pugh “looked good” during Wednesday’s practice, Tuberville told reporters.

Pugh practiced for the first time since spraining his knee against Arkansas. He should return to the lineup Saturday against Ole Miss. Tuberville said Pugh could see playing time at center and left tackle. Starting center Jason Bosley is still suffering from a lingering knee injury.

“(Pugh) practiced (Wednesday) at center,” Tuberville said. “Jason Bosley is not 100 percent and probably won’t be the rest of the year.”

Senior King Dunlap has replaced Pugh at left tackle for the last two games. Dunlap and Pugh are both likely to play Saturday, but Tuberville left the decision of who would start at tackle to line coach Hugh Nall, who was unavailablle to reporters Wednesday.

? Tuberville is approaching this weekend’s game with Ole Miss like all the rest: scared.

“Each week I am concerned winning or losing with this team because we are so young,” he said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. “We’ve got so many guys that’s never been through college football and situations like we’ve been through.”

Following Auburn’s big win at Florida, Tuberville was put on upset alert for the next week’s game against Vanderbilt. But the Tigers posted a 35-7 win over the Commodores.

The ninth-year coach said his team will face a different situation this week coming off a close loss to a nationally ranked team on the road.

“Now, were looking at the other side of the spectrum,” Tuberville said. “You worry about the mindset of our players.”

Ross Dellenger,

Daily sports writer


TUSCALOOSA — There was still no news on the Alabama textbook scandal front.

All football players involved practiced for the second consecutive day, but not with the starters.

Also, all players on the Alabama volleyball team played in the Tide’s match against Mississippi State on Wednesday. Alabama’s probe into the textbook situation involves every sport.

? Defensive tackle Alfred McCullough hasn’t played much this season, but that doesn’t mean the Athens High grad doesn’t have a bright future, according to a fellow defensive lineman.

Defensive end Wallace Gilberry gave a solid report on McCullough’s progress to this point.

“He’s looking good. He’s a very strong guy and plays at a good pad level,” McCullough said. “He’s understanding the defense. He’s definitely going to be a good one.”

So far on the season, McCullough has one tackle and played in the Crimson Tide’s 52-6 victory over Western Carolina.

? According to left tackle Justin Britt, his mother Vera is continuing to make progress from a head injury, thought it is unclear what her recovery will be like.

During Alabama’s homecoming weekend, Vera hit her head on the pavement after she fell off a golf cart. She is still in intensive care but doing better.

“That was the miracle, she made it,” Justin said. “She’s alive, she’s out of the woods as far as percent — her percentage of death, she’s out of those woods. She has a long way to go. She’s making progress every day.”

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer


KNOXVILLE — Chris Brown thinks some of his Tennessee teammates need to lighten up.

“It’s fun. It’s a game. You need to go out there and have fun,” the senior tight end said. “I think a lot of times people take it for granted what you’re doing and what you could be doing.

“It’s football. It’s not something that’s life or death,” he said.

Brown worries the Volunteers (4-3, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) may be caving into pressure that comes from playing in a balanced SEC where every game is huge. Pressure that comes from a Tennessee football program that’s expected to win games and compete for conference championships.

Don’t accuse Brown of being too soft or having a poor attitude; he knows there are times that call for a serious attitude, but his relaxed attitude serves him well on the field.

He’s already got five touchdowns for the season and he can block anywhere on the field his coaches put him.

He’s also considered among the leaders of the team and has served as a game captain in several times this season.

Brown said Arian Foster, the senior running back, also knows how to have fun on the field.

Foster gets excited after a big play or touchdown, pumping his fists in the air or jumping up and down.

Besides his eight touchdowns, Foster leads the team with 625 yards rushing.

That’s no coincidence, said Brown.

“I think we need to relax a lot more. A lot of people are tense. A lot of people aren’t just out there having fun playing football. They’re worried about making mistakes. They’re worried about doing things that don’t help themselves,” Brown said.


BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU has the week off, and the Tigers need it after three tough games in three weeks, the latest of which also put their best defensive player on the sideline with a sprained right knee.

Coach Les Miles said it appears defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was fortunate not to have any torn ligaments from what he characterized as a chop block that kept Dorsey out of the game for much of the second half.

Miles has already discussed the play with Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, who apologized and said guard Chaz Ramsey never should have rolled up Dorsey’s knee while Dorsey was already fighting off a block by Auburn tackle Lee Ziemba.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive also agreed that a personal foul penalty should have been called.

“It’s important that everybody understand that it’s immoral, that block,” Miles said. “It’s something that should not be tolerated.”

LSU ended up pulling that game out with a last-second touchdown pass from Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd, a junior college transfer in his first season at LSU.


BIRMINGHAM — Despite the cold and damp conditions Wednesday, UAB Blazers head coach Neil Callaway said his team’s workout for Saturday’s game was a success. The Blazers (2-5, 1-2 C-USA) play East Carolina (4-4, 3-1) in Greenville, N.C.

“We had a little problem with the wet ball at times, but I thought it was a good practice,” said Callaway, who started his coaching career at East Carolina (1978-79) as a part-time assistant under Pat Dye.

Kickoff is 2:30 p.m.

From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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