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AUBURN — Coach Tommy Tuberville said Tuesday that he was not a "proponent" of moving the Iron Bowl to Thanksgiving weekend, giving Auburn an open date a week before the rivalry game.
The Iron Bowl has been played the week before Thanksgiving since 1993, giving Auburn and Alabama open dates the last weekend of the regular season. But SEC athletic directors decided all league teams must play on the last weekend of the regular season.
"I think it brought down the interest in the game because there's so many other games on that Saturday," Tuberville said. "We don't have control of that. The SEC office says you play it, you play it."
Players have mixed feelings about not playing a game before the biggest one of the season. Decatur High grad Jerraud Powers said that while giving the team more time to get healthy and study Alabama, the off week stirs more hype.
Powers said two weeks just means more talk.
"One's hard enough, especially coming off the Georgia game," the Auburn cornerback said.
Two weeks also gives Powers more time to talk with his Decatur High friends who now play for Alabama: Sam Burnthall and Rolando McClain.
"I am going to make sure I talk to both of them coming up," he said.
Defensive end Antonio Coleman shrugged off any difference between playing Alabama after a bye week.
"It really doesn't matter. We're still going to be out practicing," he said. "We'll just get an early start. That early start may give us an edge in the game."
Running back Ben Tate said the off week provides a way to get "everybody back healthy."
Tuberville said running back/kick returner Tristan Davis and linebacker Craig Stevens practiced Tuesday.
Tuberville is hoping Davis will return for the Nov. 24 game against Alabama. Davis is still recovering from a fractured foot he suffered at Florida. "He was out here for a while, running pretty good," Tuberville said following a short practice Tuesday.
Stevens twisted his ankle against Ole Miss and has missed the last two games. Tuberville is unsure if Stevens will be ready to play against Alabama.
"We'll wait and see as we go through the week, but we've got two weeks left so everybody's got a real good shot," said Tuberville, who's giving his team Friday and Saturday off before beginning a regular practice schedule Sunday.
Auburn lost an offensive line recruit Tuesday but gained another.
Jarien Moreland, a Belle Glade, Fla., three-star prospect, withdrew his commitment to the Tigers, according to Rivals.com. Moreland, the 29th-ranked offensive guard prospect, told the Web site that Florida State and LSU have entered the recruiting mix.
Rivals.com also reported Tuesday that Jermaine Johnson, who signed with Auburn in February but did not qualify, plans to re-sign with the Tigers in the spring. Johnson is rated the No. 1 prep school offensive lineman in the country.
The 6-foot-6, 330-pounder told the Web site he has "no doubt" he will sign with Auburn. Johnson attends Hargrave Military Academy, a post-graduate prep school in Chatham, Va.
Daily sports writer
TUSCALOOSA — Almost a six weeks since her accident, Vera Britt will attend a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
According to her son, Justin, Alabama's starting left guard, Vera cracked her skull when she fell off a golf cart during the weekend of Alabama's homecoming game against Houston on Oct. 6.
She will join Justin on the field Saturday when Alabama honors its 22 seniors before the game.
Justin said he doesn't know how he'll keep his emotions in check.
"I'm already an emotional guy, and I am a momma's boy. I'm the baby boy," Justin said. "And me and her have always been the closest."
Justin said the hospital discharged his mother Tuesday. He said she can walk, but "mentally, she is starting over."
"The good thing is the doctors told her now is the time she can learn piano and learn a new language," Justin said. "Her brain is just starting all over, and it is just going to take time for it all to come back."
Justin is the last of three Britt brothers to play at Alabama. Wesley Britt started 48 straight games on Alabama's offensive line from 2001-04, and Taylor Britt lettered at Alabama in 2005.
Several players have described an emotional scene in Alabama's locker room following its loss to Mississippi State.
"Just guys blowing off steam, and I was one of them," Tide defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "That's not something you can hold in. If you do, I believe it will tear you down."
According to Gilberry, nobody pointed fingers — just a team venting its disappointment.
"I'm not going to repeat what was said," Tide linebacker Darren Mustin said. "All the way back, I just listened to my music. I turned my music as loud as I could so I couldn't hear anybody talking, and I just went to sleep."
Alabama freshman linebacker Rolando McClain no longer wore a black non-contact jersey at practice Tuesday. He wore one Monday.
Demarcus Waldrop (groin) and Roy Upchurch (shoulder) were the only players wearing black for Alabama on Tuesday.
Josh Cooper, UAB
Daily Sports Writer
BIRMINGHAM — The UAB football team stuck to its routine with a physical, 19-period workout Tuesday afternoon at the UAB practice fields.
UAB is preparing to face Memphis. The Blazers have won six straight meetings with Memphis, including a 35-29 victory in last year's inaugural "Battle for the Bones" at Birmingham's Legion Field.
"Today was a decent Tuesday," UAB coach Neil Callaway said. "We kind of got off to a slow start, but in the end, I'd say it was decent."
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida receiver Percy Harvin missed his fourth consecutive practice Tuesday because of a sinus infection and migraine headaches.
Coach Urban Meyer said Harvin — who did not make the trip to Columbia, S.C., for the Gators game against South Carolina last Saturday because of the illness — could return to practice Wednesday.
"We'll get some more testing on him and we'll know more," Meyer said. "I just want him to get healthy."
Meyer also said Tuesday that redshirt freshman running back Chevon Walker will transfer and redshirt freshman safety Jamar Hornsby is not practicing with the team because of personal issues.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina announced Tuesday it will not hold its traditional "Tigerburn" pep rally before its rivalry football game with Clemson University because of a beach fire that killed seven of the schools' students last month.
The rally where students burn a massive papier-mache Clemson Tiger has been a tradition at South Carolina for four decades, but students felt it wasn't right to hold the ceremony so soon after the Oct. 28 fire in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., that killed six University of South Carolina students and one Clemson student, University of South Carolina spokesman Russ McKinney said.
LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech coach Mike Leach was fined a record $10,000 by the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday for his harsh criticism of game officials following last week's loss to Texas.
From Staff, Wire Reports
Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
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