AP photo by Todd Van Emst|
Auburn's Tristan Davis (9) sprints past linebacker Chris Evans in a preseason practice. Davis is recovering from a fractured foot, but head coach Tommy Tuberville says Davis could return for the Tigers' game against Alabama onNov. 24.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
Iron Bowl TV
The Alabama-Auburn game will be televised by ESPN and kick off at 7 p.m. Nov. 24, the Southeastern Conference said Monday.
It will be the Tigers’ fifth game on ESPN this season.
The network landed the Iron Bowl when CBS chose to televise the Tennessee-Kentucky and Florida-Florida State games.
CBS will also televise Arkansas at No. 1 LSU on Nov. 23.
ABC will televise the Georgia Tech-Georgia game Nov. 24 at 2:30 p.m.
The Associated Press
TUSCALOOSA — Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain has had his ups and downs during his freshman season.
Through six games, the Decatur High grad led the team in tackles, but since then, he has seen his playing time decrease. Entering Saturday’s home game against Louisiana-Monroe, McClain ranks third on the team with 54 tackles.
Alabama coach Nick Saban blamed McClain’s lack of time on the field recently to the styles of offenses the Tide has faced. Alabama has seen several different types of offenses, and Saban didn’t want McClain to get too confused.
Still, that didn’t stop him from lauding McClain and what he has accomplished.
“I do feel that sometimes the cumulative effect of all those adjustments and multiples can cause some confusion with some players,” Saban said. “He has probably been able to consume more without being confused than maybe any freshman I have ever coached.”
On Monday, McClain, with an undisclosed injury, wore a black non-contact jersey, but he was wearing pads.
When Alabama faced first-and-goal from the Mississippi State 3-yard line Saturday and needed a big tailback, Jimmy Johns never left the Tide’s sideline.
Johns stands 6-foot-2 and 233 pounds, and although he was the chief backup at tailback last year, he hasn’t carried the ball in the last eight games.
Johns has played mostly special teams recently, and while he sometimes practices at running back and fullback, Saban said he felt 5-10, 188-pound Terry Grant was a better option against MSU.
“We are trying to play the best football players, the guys that are the most ready to play. Jimmy has certainly made some improvement of late, but he has struggled a little bit this season,” Saban said. “We are trying to get him to play with more consistency, and hopefully, that is something we can get to here in the near future.”
Alabama finished its game against Mississippi State beaten on the scoreboard and bruised physically.
Suffering from what Saban said was a groin injury, linebacker Demarcus Waldrop rode an exercise bike at practice Monday and wore a black jersey. Running back Roy Upchurch practiced in the black non-contact jersey, and offensive lineman B.J. Stabler was limited in practice.
In a little change of pace, Saban wore a black sweater Monday during his news conference. Normally, he sports a shirt with some kind of Alabama logo.
As reporters looked at him, Saban noticed the puzzlement.
“Somebody needs to show some class around here,” Saban joked.
Daily Sports Writer
AUBURN — Coach Tommy Tuberville said running back/kick returner Tristan Davis has a “great chance” to return to practice by the end of this week.
Davis, who led the SEC last season with 27 yards a kickoff return, still is recovering from a fractured foot he suffered against Florida on Sept. 29.
Davis traveled with the team to Georgia but did not dress out. The junior was listed as the third-string tailback and starting kick returner before fracturing his toe in preseason drills.
Auburn has an open date Saturday that should help Davis’ chances of playing in the season-ending game against Alabama on Nov. 24. Tuberville said Davis is running well “straight ahead,” but his angular running is giving him trouble.
“He’s got to work some soreness out on his cuts,” Tuberville said. “He’s starting to look pretty good, but I want him to be 100 percent. He’s a speed guy. He needs his legs and speed to make it work for him.”
Eleven games into the season, and Auburn’s offense continues to struggle, totaling just 216 yards of offense in a 45-20 loss to Georgia on Saturday.
Tuberville said that’s one of several things on which his team will focus during the bye week.
“We’ll start on the offensive line,” Tuberville said. “We’ve got to get better there. (Georgia) got too much push on pass rush at times. I thought we’d run the ball a little bit better. Some of it had to do with the running backs; some of it had to do with the offensive line.”
Auburn ran for 83 yards, its second lowest output of the season. Quarterback Brandon Cox was sacked three times and hurried in other instances.
“When you’ve only got around 200 yards of offense, you’re not going to win many games in the SEC, even for us,” Tuberville said. “We know we’re going to win a lot of games on kicking and defense, but you can’t play a team like that and not have better offensive production.”
Daily sports writer
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron has reinstated defensive end Greg Hardy for Saturday’s game against No. 1 LSU.
Hardy was suspended two weeks ago for violation of team rules.
“He has done everything that we’ve asked him to do over the last two weeks, so we are going to reinstate him on the team,” Orgeron said Monday. “He will be at practice today, so we’re excited about that and we expect him to do very well with us.”
Hardy was suspended before the game at Auburn on Oct. 27 and had been kept away from the team. Orgeron said Hardy did nothing illegal and attended all classes and tutoring sessions during his suspension.
Despite missing two games, Hardy remains the Southeastern Conference’s leader in sacks (one per game), tackles for loss (1.94 per game) and forced fumbles (0.38 per game).
BIRMINGHAM — Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, Mississippi State defensive back Anthony Johnson and Alabama place-kicker Leigh Tiffin won the Southeastern Conference’s weekly honors.
Tebow rushed for five touchdowns and passed for two more in Florida’s 51-31 win at South Carolina. He completed 22 of 32 passes for 304 yards, rushed for 120 yards on 26 carries and has now accounted for an SEC-record 42 touchdowns.
Tebow’s five rushing touchdowns is tied for the season high among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players.
Johnson returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half of Mississippi State’s 17-12 win against Alabama.
The return gave the Bulldogs a 10-9 halftime lead. Johnson has returned two picks for touchdowns this season.
Tiffin made 4-of-4 field goal attempts, accounting for all of the Crimson Tide’s points. He connected from 39, 29, 50 and a career-best 51 yards.
Georgia center Fernando Velasco was the offensive lineman of the week while defensive line honors went to Kentucky end Jeremy Jarmon.
Tennessee defensive back Eric Berry was the freshman of the week.
CULLOWHEE, N.C. — Kent Briggs was fired as head football coach at Western Carolina on Monday, two days after his team gave up 79 points to archrival Appalachian State.
Athletic director Chip Smith said the search for a replacement for Briggs would begin immediately. Smith said in a prepared statement that Briggs, who will coach the season finale against Furman on Saturday, would be reassigned to a position within the university.
Briggs has a career mark of 22-42, with a Southern Conference mark of 12-31.
CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming coach Joe Glenn apologized Monday for making an obscene gesture to the Utah team after the Utes tried an onside kick while ahead by 43 points.
The Cowboys recovered the kick, but Glenn responded by giving the finger to Utah. Wyoming lost the game, 50-0.
“I met with my team on Sunday and apologized to them for the gesture I made toward the Utah bench during the game,” Glenn said in a statement.
“I also want to apologize to all fans for that action. Football is an emotional game, and I let my emotions get the best of me,” he said.
“I felt it was appropriate for me to let my team and all fans know that I am truly sorry for that emotional moment.”
Mountain West Conference officials planned to review videotape of the game. According to the conference handbook, obscene gestures or language are subject to at least a reprimand for a first offense.
The UAB football team is preparing to defend its “Battle For The Bones” trophy when it travels to Memphis to play the Memphis Tigers on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Blazers will also put a seven-game win streak against the Tigers on the line.
UAB has not lost to Memphis since the 1999 season, and the Blazers have not lost in Memphis since 1997.
UAB (2-8, 1-5 C-USA) is coming off a 45-31 loss to Central Florida, while Memphis (5-5, 4-2 C-USA) gained a 29-26 win over Southern Mississippi.
From staff, wire reports
Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
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AP contributed to this report.
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