News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



TUSCALOOSA — Director of athletics Mal Moore and compliance director Chris King went to Indianapolis on Wednesday to update the NCAA on Alabama's ongoing investigation into an impermissible receipt of textbooks.

"The purpose of the trip was to state where we are in the inquiry," said director of athletic media relations Doug Walker. "The inquiry is still ongoing."

Coach Nick Saban offered no new information involving the investigation into offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell, right guard Marlon Davis, running back Glen Coffee, defensive back Marquis Johnson and special teams player Chris Rogers.

All five were suspended the night before Alabama's 41-17 victory over Tennessee on Oct. 20.

"You prepare somebody else to play in the event that the guy can't play," Saban said. "We didn't have any opportunity to do that against Tennessee, but we do have a little better opportunity to do that right now. So we've got to hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

  • It is unclear as to how many players on LSU's roster are Nick Saban's players. Some reports say he recruited 17, others say 19. Whatever the case, Saban says he is not taking credit for LSU's current success.

    "I don't take ownership for this at all," Saban said. "I think the players go to LSU because it's LSU. I just happened to be the coach there who was involved in recruiting, working, whatever you want to say, to try and work and develop a program that was good for the players in the state to be able to come to and be proud of."

    Some of the players on LSU's roster who were recruited and coached by Saban aren't exactly torn between him and current coach Les Miles, but have some fond memories of Saban.

    "I remember a strong leader, someone I felt real confident taking the field with," said senior defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey. "A very knowledgeable guy who knows what he's talking about and a great leader for the team."

  • The Simeon Castille trial, scheduled to begin Thursday was delayed. No new trial date has been set.

    Castille was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for an incident on the Tuscaloosa strip Aug. 19.

    Josh Cooper,

    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — King Dunlap lay on his stomach perfectly still as trainers rushed onto the field.

    Auburn's 310-pound offensive tackle finally picked himself up from Pat Dye Field on Saturday, rising to an ovation from the home crowd.

    "Somebody fell on my back," said Dunlap, who is from Brentwood Tenn., just 80 minutes from Cookeville, the home of Auburn's opponent Saturday, Tennessee Tech.

    "Got the wind knocked out of me a little bit, hurt a little bit. Once I caught my breath, I hopped up. I was down there trying to breathe in the ground, with the face mask. It was a little rough," he said.

    Dunlap will start for the third straight week Saturday against the Golden Eagles of the Football Championship Subdivision — formerly Division 1-AA. Entering the season as the starter, Dunlap suffered an elbow injury in Week 3, which, combined with sluggish play, led to his removal from the starting lineup. True freshman Ryan Pugh started the next three games.

    "I was kind of mad about that," said Dunlap, who said that playing in the NFL is still in the back of his mind.

    Pugh sprained his knee against Arkansas, giving Dunlap another opportunity to prove himself. He said coaches gave him a grade of 85 during Auburn's 17-3 win over Ole Miss.

    "It was good, but it still wasn't good enough," he said. "We won, but we know we have to play a lot better to finish out with Georgia and Alabama."

  • LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey said that Auburn's Chaz Ramsey and Lee Ziemba should not have to apologize for their illegal chop block on the all-American on Oct. 20.

    "I don't feel I'm owed an apology," Dorsey said. "I'm not even concerned about that. I wasn't seriously injured, I mean, I'm not even worried about it. I moved on."

    The replay of Ramsey's helmet ramming into Dorsey's right knee was shown countless times on ESPN following Auburn's 30-24 loss in Baton Rouge, La. While Ramsey went at Dorsey's knee, Ziemba blocked him above the waist in the chest area.

    The high-low blocking was illegal, but officials did not flag Auburn. Ziemba and Ramsey refused to comment on the play this week. A day after the game, coach Tommy Tuberville said the hit was not intentional and that Ramsey "feels bad about it."

    Dorsey came out of the incident with just a slight sprain. He has forgotten about the gruesome hit, turning his attention to LSU's game against Alabama on Saturday.

    "I got a big game to play this week, and I'm not even concerned about it," he said.

  • Running back Brad Lester did not practice Wednesday, marking the second straight day the starting tailback was held out of drills.

    Lester is recovering from a groin injury. Although Tuberville said Tuesday that Lester would play in this weekend's game, he changed his answer Wednesday.

    "I don't know," he said. "We'll have to wait and see."

    Left tackle Ryan Pugh (ankle) also did not practice Wednesday and will not play Saturday, the coach said.

    Tuberville told reporters he will not decide who will kickoff against Tennessee Tech until warm-ups. Kicker Wes Byrum is suffering from a sore thigh and will only kick field goals and extra points. Austin High grad Morgan Hull is in the running to kickoff Saturday.

    "We tried about three guys out (Wednesday), and they all looked pretty good," Tuberville told reporters. "We won't make our minds up until warm-ups on those guys. We're just looking for some consistency."

  • Tuberville will be inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2008.

    The annual induction ceremony will be at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., on Feb. 22, 2008.

    A 1976 graduate of Southern Arkansas and a Camden, Ark., native, Tuberville has a 102-52 overall coaching record with a four-year stop at Ole Miss and his current nine-year stint at Auburn.

    "I am excited," said Tuberville, 53. "I grew up as a young kid in the state of Arkansas. I look forward to bringing my family and my kids, my mother over to Little Rock."

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writer


    BATON ROUGE, La. — Backup LSU linebacker Derrick Odom was charged with a misdemeanor Wednesday, accused of smashing a car window after a brawl at a nightclub last week. Soon afterward, coach Les Miles announced he was being kicked off the team.

    Odom faces one count of simple criminal damage to property, according to Baton Rouge police. He was involved in a fight at The Varsity nightclub near LSU's campus early Friday, left the club and was caught on video when he returned an hour later and smashed an SUV window, police said.

    A call to Odom's lawyer, Anthony Bertucci, was not immediately returned.

    Miles said Odom was dismissed as was walk-on linebacker Jeremy Benton.

    Odom and backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, who was also in the fight, were barred from practice this week. Perrilloux, meanwhile, will remain on the team but will not play Saturday, when No. 3 LSU faces No. 17 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Miles said.

    He said that decision was made because Perrilloux has missed the "lion's share" of practice this week.

    Perrilloux was not charged in the brawl.

    In September, Odom was arrested for the second time in less than a month, accused of damaging an LSU student's vehicle. Miles suspended Odom for three weeks in August, after the linebacker was arrested for damaging another LSU student's vehicle and threatening the student. On Aug. 27, Odom apologized to the victims of the August incident and agreed to pay restitution.


    KNOXVILLE — Tennessee tailback LaMarcus Coker and defensive tackle Demonte Bolden will miss the game against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday because of a violation of team rules, coach Phillip Fulmer said Wednesday.

    Bolden is a starter on the defensive line while Coker provides a threat for No. 24 Tennessee as a kick returner and relief tailback for starter Arian Foster.

    "Those guys are important to us, and hopefully we can have them back for Arkansas," said Fulmer, who didn't elaborate on the violation.

    Coker was suspended for almost three weeks of practice in August for what team officials described as a medical issue. He was also suspended for several practices last December in advance of the Outback Bowl for undisclosed reasons.


    ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia impressed poll voters by beating Florida last week.

    Georgia could impress its coach by backing up the votes of confidence.

    The Bulldogs' wild ride up and down the Top 25 in September and October included two drops of 12 spots in the poll. Georgia shot up from No. 20 to No. 10 this week, and now coach Mark Richt is looking for stability in November.

    With three straight home games, beginning with Saturday's visit from Troy, it's time to see if Georgia finally can handle prosperity.

    "I've talked to the guys," Richt said. "Here we are again in a good position. What are we going to do now?

    "We were here after Oklahoma State. We were here after Alabama. By the grace of God, here we are again. What are we going to do now? Are we just going to let it fall by the wayside or do something nutty or can we sustain this thing?"

    Georgia's four remaining regular-season opponents have a combined 23-11 record, and Troy (6-2) comes to Athens on Saturday with a six-game winning streak.

    Georgia will face Auburn on Nov. 10 and Kentucky on Nov. 17.


    NEW ORLEANS — Conference USA officials Wednesday announced that referees got the call right when they kept the clock running after a Tulane completion along the sidelines late in a 28-27 loss to Memphis on Saturday.

    The league announced its findings a day after Tulane coach Bob Toledo said he had sent video of the play to conference headquarters as part of a formal complaint.

    Toledo thought officials should have stopped the clock, or at least made it clear they intended to keep the clock running, after Gabe Ratcliff's catch at midfield with 17 seconds left in the game.

    But the league said it confirmed with Dave Parry, the national coordinator of NCAA football officiating, that the call was correct because the player was pushed out of bounds backward from the point of forward progress.


    BIRMINGHAM — The UAB football team practiced for a little more than two hours on Wednesday afternoon, continuing a trend this week of more physical, demanding style of practice.

    UAB head coach Neil Callaway continues to like what he sees, but felt the 17-period session in pads and shorts was not as impressive as Tuesday's workout.

    "Our defense had a good practice today, but they haven't been perfect by any means," Callaway said. "Our effort has been a lot better and the tempo in practice has been a lot better. The last couple of weeks, we had backed off of them trying not to get anybody hurt and that was on me, but now we decided to go back and get after it."

    The Blazers and Southern Mississippi will kick off at 6 p.m. at Legion Field on Saturday.

    From Staff, Wire Report


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

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