News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

College Football Notebook


We may have an explanation as to why Alabama’s practices are so quiet — relative to what they were last year.

During the Mike Shula regime, the Crimson Tide would play loud noises and opposing team’s fight songs the week of a road game. But first-year coach Nick Saban employs no such philosophy.

“You give up a little bit sometimes when you have a practice where you have noise,” Saban said. “Nobody can hear anything, we practice silent anyway, so it’s not necessary to hear. Silent count and all that stuff, for when we play on the road.”

Saban was unclear of how to replicate the sound of cowbells, which are a staple at any Mississippi State home game.

“I don’t know if we can duplicate the sound of cowbells,” Saban said. “But it’s just noise in general, so it doesn’t make a difference what it is.”

  • So what is it like for return specialist Javier Arenas when he is returning a punt or a kickoff
  • Well, he doesn’t really know. It all just sort of happens in front of him, and he just reads and reacts.

    “It’s instinct,” Arenas said. “I’m not focusing on who I make miss, if it’s the opposite color jersey, I am just avoiding them.”

    Arenas was recruited primarily as a kick-returner by the former coaching staff, but Saban played Arenas at defensive back in Alabama’s loss to LSU. Arenas played cornerback at Robinson High in Tampa, Fla. As a senior, he was added to kick and punt returns. Arenas had four tackles against the Tigers last weekend.

  • Chalk up another connection to another Alabama opponent for Wallace Gilberry. The Alabama defensive end talks to Mississippi State defensive end Titus Brown almost every day. The two met last summer and struck up a friendship.

    “I know what those guys are doing down there,” Gilberry said jokingly.

    Gilberry and Brown are tied for the second in the SEC with seven sacks each.

  • On his weekly radio show, Saban announced that the five suspended players will not play against Mississippi State.

    Offensive linemen Antoine Caldwell and Marlon Davis, along with running back Glen Coffee, defensive back Marquis Johnson and special teams player Chris Rogers have been suspended since Alabama’s game against Tennessee for what the school deemed an “impermissible receipt of textbooks.”

    Saban said that the five will probably not play in Alabama’s next game against Louisiana-Monroe. But he did not discount the Iron Bowl.

    He said that there is a “good chance” that the players will return for the Nov. 24 game against Auburn.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — Although offensive coordinator Al Borges calls it a “secondary consideration” — which means it is doubtful — backup quarterback Blake Field says he’ll “show that speed” if he is put in a game to run the Kodi Burns’ package.

    Burns was demoted to the No. 3 quarterback following Field’s impressive outing against Tennessee Tech. But Borges said the true freshman will continue to run his “package,” which includes a variety of quarterback runs and option plays.

    With Field getting promoted to No. 2, he was asked if he could run the package.

    “Yeah. I’ve done it before, and I can do it,” said Field, a very confident individual. “It’s a matter of them calling it and me running it. If they call it, I’ll run it. I’ll show that speed.”

  • Coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters following Thursday’s practice that running back/kick-returner Tristan Davis will travel with the team to Athens, Ga., and will dress out.

    It is not clear if Davis will actually play in the game against Georgia on Saturday, but Tuberville’s comments are vastly different than earlier in the week when he said Davis’ best possibility to play was against Alabama on Nov. 24.

    Davis led the SEC in kickoff return yards last season, averaging 27 yards a return. But Davis’ 2007 season has been plagued by injury.

    The junior missed the first four games of the season with a broken toe he suffered in the preseason. Upon his return, Davis broke his foot against Florida.

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writeR


    LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court rejected a Montgomery County man’s request Thursday to order the University of Arkansas to preserve evidence regarding e-mails critical of former Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain.

    The state’s highest court, however, agreed to stay Washington County Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay’s order finding attorney Eddie Christian Jr. in contempt of court for engaging in prohibited discovery over the e-mails. Justices also stayed an order preventing Christian from disclosing any information he obtained from the discovery.

    Mississippi State

    Mississippi State’s Wes Carroll is two attempts shy of the NCAA freshman record for passes without an interception to start a career.

    Coach Sylvester Croom lauded Carroll for his performance so far and said offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey, a former Alabama assistant coach, deserves recognition as well. McCorvey has had to start three quarterbacks in each of the last two seasons because of injuries.

    “It’s gone unnoticed, but for two years we’ve been in this situation and I don’t think anybody has had to deal with
    this more than he has,” Croom said.

    “For two years now our quarterback situation hasn’t been stable and he has battled through it and has gotten whoever’s left ready to play. And he has done an outstanding job.”

    Carroll was third on the depth chart when the season began. But after injuries sacked starter Michael Henig (hand) and backup Josh Riddell (knee), Carroll took the job and won’t let it go.

    Texas Southern

    HOUSTON — Texas Southern football coach Steve Wilson was fired Thursday and replaced on an interim basis by defensive coordinator DeChon Burns.

    Texas Southern is 0-9 this season and has been outscored 355-138.

    The team was 4-38 in Wilson’s four seasons. His best season was 2006 when the team went 3-8.

    “We appreciate Steve’s tireless effort and commitment to our football program,” athletic director Alois Blackwell said.

    Wilson told Houston television station KRIV he appreciated his time at Texas Southern and alluded to some of the school’s troubles.


    BIRMINGHAM — The UAB football team practiced for more than two hours Thursday preparing for the final home game of season when Conference USA rival Central
    Florida visits Legion Field on Saturday.

    Head coach Neil Callaway also named sophomore Jacob Tauanuu (defense), sophomore Rashaud Slaughter (offense) and sophomore Jim Mitchell (special teams) as captains for Saturday’s contest.

    The game also will serve as Military Appreciation Day at Legion Field. Fans with a valid military ID will receive free admission into the game. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.

    North Alabama

    FLORENCE— All North Alabama Lion football fans are invited to join UNA head football coach Mark Hudspeth and players Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Florence Country Club for the announcement of the 2007 NCAA Division II playoff

    The announcement of the 24-team field will be made by the NCAA over ESPNU and you can join the Lion players and coaches as they find out if they’ll be making their fourth playoff appearance in the last five years and 13th post-season appearance overall.

    UNA is 8-1 and ranked second in the Southeast Region entering Saturday’s regular-season finale at home against West Alabama. The top six teams in each of the four regions will advance to the playoffs.

    From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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