News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



TUSCALOOSA — Alabama sophomore linebacker Prince Hall hasn’t had an easy season.

Suspended for the first game of the season against Western Carolina for violating team rules, Hall played his way back into a starting spot for the Crimson Tide by midseason. But he still felt a tinge of loneliness.

Hall comes from Moreno Valley, Calif., a good 2,000 miles from Tuscaloosa, according to Internet mapping sites.

“Over the years, you just learn how to deal with everything,” Hall said. “It makes it easier when you have people in the same boat you are that don’t live close to home.”

Hall has several cousins in Tanner, who he says call him every week, asking him to come up. Hall made one trip with his parents to Tanner about two weeks ago for dinner.

“They ask me how I am doing, and tell me I am welcome up there,” Hall said. “They always cheer me on.”

? Alabama’s Jimmy Johns might see action this week against Louisiana-Monroe at his old position of running back.

Johns started the season at running back but fell out of favor with Tide coach Nick Saban and moved to special teams.

With Roy Upchurch possibly out with a shoulder injury, the 6-foot-2, 233-pound Johns gives Tide Saban a bigger back to use around the goal line. Last weekend against Mississippi State, Alabama had first-and-goal from the 3-yard line and used Terry Grant twice, who gained one yard.

On Alabama’s third-down play on that series, the Bulldogs intercepted quarterback John Parker Wilson and ran the ball back 100 yards for a touchdown.

Saban didn’t dismiss the possibility of Upchurch’s return, saying that Glen Coffee — out as part of the textbook suspensions — had a similar injury and played through it.

? According to Saban, freshman linebacker Rolando McClain wore a black non-contact jersey Monday because of illness. Saban said that the Decatur High grad is back at full speed.

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer


The Tigers had their final practice of the off week Thursday. Coach Tommy Tuberville said Auburn will resume drills Sunday in preparation for the Iron Bowl on Nov. 24.

Most players are leaving Auburn to go home, a place most of them haven’t been since the start of the season. Decatur’s own Jerraud Powers told reporters following Thursday’s practice that he is planning on returning to his old stomping ground of Ogle Stadium to watch the Red Raiders play against Benjamin Russell in the second round of the playoffs.

Powers and teammate Eric Brock, a 2003 Benjamin Russell grad, have been jawing this week about the game.

“Me and Brock have already been talking stuff about that game,” said Powers, who graduated from Decatur in 2005, finishing his senior year with 46 tackles and two interceptions. “Brock is hyping it up. I’ve already told him Decatur is going to win by 21 points, easily. I might go give the team a pep talk or something. I hope they don’t let me down.”

Ross Dellenger,
Daily sports writer

Middle Tennessee State

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Mississippi State will become the first Southeastern Conference team to visit Middle Tennessee State at Floyd Stadium in 2009.

The game, part of a home-and-home series announced Thursday between the schools, will mark the third straight year a team from one of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences has made the trip to Murfreesboro.


KNOXVILLE — Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer says his 19th-ranked Vols are as healthy as possible this time of the season heading into Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.

“We got some bumps and bruises, but everybody has bumps and bruises this time of the year,” Fulmer said Thursday.

The Commodores are one win from being bowl eligible, but have only been victorious over Tennessee twice in the last 30 years.

Nevertheless, Fulmer said the Vols aren’t taking Vanderbilt for granted.

“We’ve been preparing well, now we have to play well,” he said. “Vanderbilt makes you execute, and I believe we have to execute well.”


LEXINGTON, Ky. — Running back Rafael Little should be able to start against Georgia after making significant progress from a back injury, coach Rich Brooks said Thursday.

Little, who was injured Saturday against Vanderbilt, was able to practice for the first time in a week. Brooks had listed him as questionable Wednesday.

North Alabama

FLORENCE — The University of North Alabama football team earned four first-team All-Gulf South Conference selections and eight overall in voting by the league’s head coaches.

Senior offensive tackle J.D. Whited of Oneonta, senior defensive lineman Tim Hunt of Mobile, senior defensive back Craig Fox of Kentwood, La., and sophomore linebacker Michael Johnson of Panama City, Fla., were named first-team All-GSC.

Junior quarterback A.J. Milwee of Boaz, junior right end Covington Wright of Columbus, Ga., junior center Sam Hathorn of Corinth, Miss., and junior defensive lineman Antron Dillon of Hammond, La., were second-team All-GSC picks.

UNA (9-1) will open play in the NCAA Division II playoffs Nov. 24 at home against the winner of Saturday’s Delta State-Shaw game.

From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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