News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Arkansas' Darren McFadden, left, with coach HoustonNutt after rushing for 321 yards Saturday.
AP photo
Arkansas' Darren McFadden, left, with coach HoustonNutt after rushing for 321 yards Saturday.



Imagine you’re a defensive back at a high school in Mississippi, and when you line up to play Harrison Central High from Gulfport, Miss., you’re dealing with two fleet-footed Division I receiving prospects.

That was the situation for opponents during most of Alabama wideout Keith Brown’s high school career, before he moved to Pensacola, Fla., for his senior year.

Brown and Mississippi State receiver Tony Burks played on the same pass-happy spread offense at Central.

“We played the spread all day,” Brown said with a grin. “Four receivers on the field at all times. That was pretty fun.”

Mississippi State recruited Brown, but he said he didn’t get a good feeling there when he went on a recruiting visit. It was different when he came to Tuscaloosa.

“When I came here, I just felt enthusiastic,” Brown said. “I felt good about the place in general.”

He didn’t play in last year’s 24-16 loss against the Bulldogs because of a bad knee. But watching from the sidelines, he didn’t like what he saw.

“Our mental intensity wasn’t there,” Brown said. “We weren’t mentally focused — that was how they defeated us last year.”

  • Did LSU figure out Tide receiver DJ Hall?

    According to quarterback John Parker Wilson, Hall was double-teamed by LSU, which had a safety playing in front of Hall and cornerback behind him.

    The Tigers limited Hall to two catches for 76 yards. One catch was a 67-yard touchdown.

    “They weren’t going to let us throw to him the way they were playing him,” Wilson said.

  • Alabama coach Nick Saban was named Wednesday one of 16 semifinalists for the Paul “Bear” Bryant coach of the year award.

    Saban won the award in 2003 after leading LSU to a national championship. The only Alabama coach to win the award is Gene Stallings in 1992 when he led the Crimson Tide to a national championship.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — Coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters following Wednesday’s practice that senior King Dunlap will start at left tackle Saturday against Georgia.

    Dunlap has started in place of true freshman Ryan Pugh for the last three games. Pugh sprained his ankle during a win at Arkansas.

    “It will be King. He’s working with the first team, but Ryan will be ready to go,” Tuberville told reporters.

    Pugh replaced Dunlap in the starting lineup after the senior injured his elbow during the loss to Mississippi State in the third game of the season.

    Tuberville also announced after practice that offensive lineman Oscar Gonzalez did not practice with the squad Wednesday because he is concentrating on academics. The coach said Gonzalez, a sophomore from Miami is still with the team.

  • According to reports, Auburn moved practice into Jordan-Hare Stadium on Wednesday night to get more light. With daylight savings time in affect, it gets dark earlier.

    “This is the first week it gets dark at 5, and our lights just aren’t good enough out there to get the practice we wanted,” Tuberville told reporters after what he called a “spirited practice.”

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writer


    Don’t look now, but Arkansas has won five of six since September losses to Alabama and Kentucky. South Carolina was the first ranked team the Razorbacks beat, but at least one player offered a comparison to Arkansas’ 10-game run a season ago.

    “We feel like we’re at the point we were last year when we went on our winning streak,” linebacker Weston Dacus said.

  • Felix Jones’ career-high 166 yards rushing was overshadowed by McFadden’s 321-yard performance last weekend. That’s par for the course for Jones, who has rushed for 1,000 yards both this season and last but does not receive the attention McFadden does.

    Nutt isn’t concerned.

    “I think that they know who he is now,” Nutt said.

    McFadden and Jones combined for 487 yards rushing last weekend, a major college record for two teammates. The pair is also on pace to break the single-season record set by Southern California’s Reggie Bush (1,740) and LenDale White (1,302) in 2005.

    McFadden (1,314) and Jones (1,029) have combined for 2,343 yards. They need 700 to pass Bush and White.


    Georgia’s fans are being asked to wear black to the Bulldogs’ game Saturday against Auburn, but coach Mark Richt says he isn’t sure of the reason.

    Richt announced at his weekly news conference that the seniors had made the request. He compiled by passing it along.

    “I asked them why, and they said it would be cool and a great sign of unity,” Richt said.

    Junior tight end Tripp Chandler said he supports the attire suggestion.

    “This could be something really cool if everyone participates,” Chandler said. “Fans have to commit to it though. We can’t have just students doing it or just the alumni or half and half. Everybody has to do it.”


    Tennessee’s offensive package that places backup wide receiver Gerald Jones behind center has been dubbed the “G-Gun” by some.

    In the play, Jones, who played quarterback in high school, takes the direct snap and runs. The Vols tried the G-Gun on Saturday late in the game against Louisiana-Lafayette, and Jones ran 20 yards on two carries, including a 12-yard touchdown run.

    Quarterback Erik Ainge said he’s not afraid to line up at receiver, as backup quarterback Jonathan Crompton did Saturday.

    “I told Gerald (on Monday), ‘If they don’t guard me, you better throw me the ball.’ I played basketball in high school; I’ll just post him up,” Ainge said of facing a defensive back.

    Ole Miss

    Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy could return for Ole Miss’ Nov. 17 game against No. 2 LSU.

    Coach Ed Orgeron said this week he might lift Hardy’s indefinite suspension for violation of team rules this weekend.

    “I’ll review his situation,” Orgeron said. “I gave him certain things to follow. I’ve been tracking it closely, and so far he’s been perfect. I’ve talked to him and his parents, and things are going very well.”

    Hardy is a rising young star in the SEC. He’s been out two straight games because of the suspension, yet still leads the league in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (1.94 a game).

    Orgeron wouldn’t reveal what rules Hardy broke, but said later the sophomore did not do anything illegal.

    Alabama A&M

    Alabama A&M (7-2, 5-2 Southwestern Athletic Conference) suffered a huge blow to its hopes for a repeat as league champions with a 43-40 overtime loss to East Division leader Jackson State last week.

    A&M will play at Alcorn State (2-6, 2-5) on Saturday at 2 p.m.

    The Bulldogs must win their final two games at Alcorn and Prairie View and hope Jackson State loses its final two games against the same teams.

    Alcorn is averaging a league-low 11.8 points and 241 yards a game.


    The UAB football team continued preparing for Saturday’s game against Central Florida, working out for two hours in shells and helmets Wednesday.

    The Blazers will host the Knights in their final home game of the season Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

    From staff, wire reports

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

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