October 11, 2006

Practice Report: Tide ready for Rebels

The Tide held its Wednesday practice session in shorts and shoulder pads as it prepared for a physical game against SEC West foes the Ole Miss Rebels. Head coach Mike Shula expects one of the most physically challenging games his team has faced all year this Saturday.

"Our main thing is getting ready for their running game," Shula said. "They do a good job coming off the football. They're a power type running team that also does some misdirection. Offensively, we have to be ready for a very quick defensive front."

"We got a lot to prepare for," Shula said. "Physically we're in good shape. Ole Miss is coming off an impressive win over Vanderbilt. Offensively, they're running the ball probably better than anybody in the conference. Even though they didn't win against Georgia, they had a good game special teams wise."

Shula said the Tide offense has put a particular focus on Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis this week and finding a way to contain the All-SEC playmaker.

"Patrick is as good of any player in the SEC," Shula said. "He's a warrior and leader. We've go to do a good job of getting guys to block him. Roy Johnson's coming off an excellent game. We're going to have to try to get hats on hats and not turn anybody loose and let our running backs go run."

Injuries Report

* Roy Upchurch did not practice today and will not play against Ole Miss on Saturday. Shula said they continuing to monitor his ankle injury and will re-evaluate it next week.

* Ezekial Knight also continues to be held out of practice and is not expected to play this weekend.

* Terrence Jones has practiced in a limited form this week. Shula said he is expected to play but

Notes and Quotes

* Jimmy Johns worked some extra snaps in his quarterback package after practice and threw some nice sharp passes from the pocket.

* With Marc Guillon gone, Jimmy Barnes and Greg McElroy will both be ready to signal in plays from the sideline. Shula said McElroy is familiar with the signals and shouldn't have any problems with it.

* With McElroy taking over the third string spot, Trent Dean has taken over the duties of running the scout team offense.

* After an impressive kickoff return (albeit one that was called back by a penalty), Rashad Johnson will start this week at kick returner alongside Javier Arenas.

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