News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



TUSCALOOSA — Alabama coach Nick Saban said last week that you never know the effect of an off-week until the next game. Well, Saban has been pleased with how his team has dealt with the extra rest so far.

“The few days off rejuvenated the players physically and emotionally,” Saban said. “The guys look quicker and a little fresher. The time off did them some good. They’re real excited about playing a real good team.”

While the off-week might have come at a good time for Alabama, it should help Tide’s Saturday foeLSU, which also had a off-week. The Tigers are coming off three straight games that came down to the final play.

“It was right on time,” LSU coach Les Miles said.

  • DJ Hall has enjoyed quite a run his past two games. The Alabama wide receiver had 24 catches for 325 yards combined against Ole Miss and Tennessee.

    So what has led to Hall’s success?

    Alabama has been moving Hall around the field more in order to get him the best possible match-ups. His quadriceps muscles, injured early in the season, is healthy. But most importantly, Hall and quarterback John Parker Wilson are on the same page.

    “He kind of knows how I am, and how I’m going to run my routes,” Hall said. “I kind of know where he’s going to put the ball. It took us maybe all of last year and a little bit of this year to kind of get that understanding of where he wanted me to be and where I was expecting the ball to be.”

  • Along with pretty much every school in the country, LSU recruited Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith. The two finalists in the recruiting battle to land him were LSU and Alabama.

    “I went on an official visit there, and I went on an unofficial visit there,” Smith said. “They really did sell their program. I got to hang out with (then-quarterback) JaMarcus Russell.”

    Smith said he chose Alabama because of its tradition and proximity to his home in Birmingham.

    “I just go home like that when I need to,” Smith said.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown doesn’t go a day without communicating with his brother, Texas coach Mack Brown.

    “Either over the phone or through a text message,” Watson Brown said earlier in the week. “I’m not sure either one of us would have lasted in this profession 35 years if we hadn’t had each other to talk to.”

    Watson Brown is a year older than his brother. He characterizes their relationship as “unbelievable friends.”

    “Mack and I have always been brothers but very close friends,” said Watson Brown, whose Golden Eagles (4-5) face No. 19 Auburn (6-3) on Saturday.

    “I doubt we go two days in a row without talking to each other,” he said.

    Before becoming the coach at Tennessee Tech, Watson Brown coached UAB for 12 years, leading a fledgling Division I-AA program to Division I-A status. Former Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan was by Brown’s side most of those years.

    The 1971 Heisman Trophy winner, Sullivan joined Brown’s UAB team as offensive coordinator in 1999. Brown calls those years at UAB with Sullivan “special times,” as the two helped the Blazers go to their first-ever bowl game.

    “I’m very proud of what we did (at UAB),” Brown said. “Pat was a big piece of that.”

    But a 3-9 season last year led to Brown’s resignation from UAB. UAB was in contract talks with Sullivan to take over the program, but those talks broke off and Sullivan was hired to coach Samford in December 2006.

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writer

    Georgia Tech

    ATLANTA — There weren’t many Georgia Tech fans left at Bobby Dodd Stadium when coach Chan Gailey appeared on the video board during the fourth quarter to deliver a public-service announcement. Those who were still there decided to express their feelings about the direction of Gailey’s football program. They booed. Loudly.

    “I honestly didn’t like it,” said receiver James Johnson, one of the few bright spots in a 27-3 loss to No. 11 Virginia Tech on Thursday night. “It hurt me as well. I’m pretty sure it hurt every other player.”

    With the Yellow Jackets sure to come up short of expectations this season, Gailey had better get ready to face questions about his job security the rest of the season. At least one segment of the fan base — those willing to stay until the bitter end of a blowout — made it clear where they stand.

    Winning is the name of the game, and the Yellow Jackets (5-4, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) have yet to have the sort of breakout season that keeps boosters happy since Gailey took over for George O’Leary in 2002.


    KNOXVILLE — Tennessee sophomore tailback LaMarcus Coker was dismissed from the team for undisclosed reasons, coach Phillip Fulmer said.

    “I can rest my head on my pillow at night knowing that I did everything I could,” Fulmer told reporters after a walkthrough practice.

    The coach wouldn’t talk about what led to the dismissal, saying there were “personal things there with LaMarcus, things that I can’t discuss. But it is what it is.”

    Fulmer already had suspended the tailback for Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette for a violation of team rules. He considered dismissing Coker on Wednesday, but waited for a further investigation that led to the same conclusion.

    From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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