News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



AUBURN — Auburn’s 2008 football schedule features back-to-back home games against LSU and Tennessee and an away game at West Virginia.

The schedule, released Wednesday, has the Tigers opening with Louisiana-Monroe on Aug. 30 then traveling to Morgantown, W.Va., for the program’s first matchup with the Mountaineers, who are currently ranked fifth in the nation.

After playing at Mississippi State on Sept. 13, Auburn hosts LSU and Tennessee before heading to Nashville for a game with Vanderbilt. Auburn again comes home for consecutive games with Arkansas and Southern Mississippi.

The Tigers have their first of two open dates on Oct. 25 following the non-conference game against the Golden Eagles of Hattiesburg, Miss. They play at Ole Miss on Nov. 1 and then host another set of home games with Tennessee-Martin and Georgia.

Tennessee-Martin is Auburn’s only 2008 opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision — formerly Division 1-AA. The Tigers have another open date on Nov. 22 before ending the season against Alabama on Nov. 29.

Auburn’s homecoming game has not been designated. The schedule is listed below:

Aug. 30 Louisiana-Monroe

Sept. 6 at West Virginia

Sept. 13 at Mississippi State

Sept. 20 LSU

Sept. 27 Tennessee

Oct. 4 at Vanderbilt

Oct. 11 Arkansas

Oct. 18 Southern Miss.

Oct. 25 open

Nov. 1 at Ole Miss

Nov. 8 Tennessee-Martin

Nov. 15 Georgia

Nov. 22 open

Nov. 29 at Alabama

  • Auburn will likely be healthy for the Nov. 24 game against Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters following Wednesday’s practice that the three hurt players looked well.

    “Tristan Davis looked good, ran well,” Tuberville said. “Craig Stevens ran well. Ryan Pugh is moving real good, a lot better than he was last week.”

    Pugh and Stevens are recovering from an ankle injury, while Davis recuperates from a fractured foot. Auburn has an open date Saturday.

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writer


    TUSCALOOSA — Alabama’s Eric Gray can’t describe what Saturday’s game will feel like to him. The best explanation he can give is “like a twilight zone”.

    Saturday will mark the West Morgan High grad’s final game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Before the season, it appeared that Gray would get some more playing time at cornerback, but for the most part he has been Alabama’s “gunner” on special teams.

    “It’s just getting the opportunity and the chance to do it,” Gray said. “I’m just making the best of my opportunity.”

    Gray said he won’t be emotional Saturday, mostly because he is ready to move on to whatever the future holds next.

    “There are a lot of memories there. I am going to try to enjoy the moment and savor the moment,” Gray said. “But at the same time, I am excited about going to my next phase of life. Everything comes to an end, but for me, it’s not the end, it’s the beginning.”

  • Alabama picked up another public commitment for its 2008 recruiting haul Wednesday.

    Marshall County (Tenn.) High linebacker Don’Ta Hightower announced that he will sign his letter of intent with Alabama at a news conference at his high school.

    “Coach (Kevin) Steele and Coach (Nick) Saban were upfront with me and showed me a lot of love,” Hightower said to “I got attention from Tennessee. They recruited me pretty hard, but I feel like they didn’t want me as bad as Alabama or Vanderbilt. Passing up on a great education that I would receive at Vanderbilt was hard, but I believe I will get just as good an education at Alabama.”

    Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt offered scholarships to the 6-foot-3, 248 pound Hightower. He is a 4-star prospect according to both and

    Hightower is Alabama’s 22nd public commitment for 2008. The Crimson Tide is ranked No. 3 by and No.7 by for that year.

  • Saban said that suspended offensive linemen Antoine Caldwell and Marlon Davis, running back Glen Coffee, defensive back Marquis Johnson and special teams player Chris Rogers will probably be out for Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe.

    “I’ve been told that we may get some indication of that by the end of the week, but I don’t know that for a fact,” Saban said. “I mean, I would hope. If they’re going to play in the next game, we’d need to know sometime before the game.”

  • Apparently, there isn’t any more than meets the eye when it comes to Alabama’s 1:30 p.m. kickoff Saturday.

    “I think for a staff and a players’ standpoint, finishing the game a little earlier and having a little more recovery time for the next game would be my only response to that,” Saban said.

    The game won’t be televised since it will be played at the same time as a CBS game. If Alabama’s game were at night, it could be on pay-per-view.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky running back Rafael Little is questionable for Saturday’s game at No. 8 Georgia after injuring his back in last week’s win over Vanderbilt, coach Rich Brooks said Wednesday.

    Little missed three games with a thigh injury before returning to run for 70 yards against the Commodores but carried just once in the second half after sustaining the injury. He did not practice on Wednesday.

    “We hope it will settle down and the soreness and pain will go away so he can participate,” Brooks said.

    Brooks said the team’s medical staff is unsure of the extent of the injury. Little will undergo various treatments in hopes of being able to play.

    “They’re putting stem on him; they’re giving him massage; they’re doing heat, cold, everything,” Brooks said.

    “It could be bruise, or it could be a pull. We’re not totally sure. Whatever it is, it’s painful.”


    GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida receiver Percy Harvin missed his fifth consecutive practice Wednesday and likely won’t play against Florida Atlantic.

    Coach Urban Meyer said Harvin spent part of the day in the school’s health care center, where he received intravenous fluids to help him fight a sinus infection and migraine headaches.

    Harvin, the team’s leading receiver and third-leading rusher, did not make the trip to South Carolina for last weekend’s game against the Gamecocks because of his symptoms.

    It’s unclear when Harvin will return to practice, but the 14th-ranked Gators probably won’t risk playing him Saturday against Florida Atlantic.


    KNOXVILLE — Tennessee’s defense set a goal this season: Retake the Volunteers’ home-field advantage in Neyland Stadium.

    The No. 19 Vols have done a pretty good job.

    For the first time since 1999, Tennessee (7-3, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) is poised to go undefeated at home with one game left against Vanderbilt (5-5, 2-5) on Saturday.

    “I think the fans have done it more than anything,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said. “Those guys really help us on the defensive side of the
    ball. Protecting this house has been the mind-set of this defense.”

    Opposing teams always speak of how difficult it is to play in the fully enclosed Neyland Stadium, with orange-clad crowds that often number more than 107,000 and sounds of “Rocky Top” blaring in the background.

    From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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