September 14, 2006

Practice Report: Offense shows attitude

The Tide capped off a solid week of practice with a no-pads session on Thursday afternoon as they continued preparation for Louisiana-Monroe.

"I thought we had a good practice," said head coach Mike Shula. "We've still got some things to clean up. Louisiana-Monroe, they do some real good things offensively. They had a lot of yards last week, their young quarterback really got hot after a slow start. They've got some weapons with their wide receivers and tight end. Defensively, they're a veteran secondary and their going to challenge us. We've got to be ready but the main thing is we've got to keep improving."

Shula said that the offense responded well in practice after a disappointing performance against Vanderbilt last weekend and has shown a determination to improve.

"They've had a great attitude," Shula said. "Overall on offense we've had our best group as far as attitude goes since we've been here."

Shula mentioned freshman Roy Upchurch as a player getting closer to earning playing time at running back this season.

"We want to try to get three guys going at running back," Shula said. "First we have to get more plays on offense but Roy's showing improvement."

Also in the mix for some more playing time on offense is sophomore wide out Nikita Stover who made his first career catch last week to convert on third-and-long. Shula said the breakthrough play for Stover has changed his demeanor in practice.

"He's got a better look in his eye," Shula said. "He's got more confidence out there now. He had a good week last week too so if he keeps going like that you've got to feel good about where he's headed."

The coaches also selected the team captains for this weekend's game selecting Jeremy Clark on defense, Luke Spaulding on special teams and Antoine Caldwell on offense.

Injury Report

True freshman kick returner Terry Grant was back at practice Thursday after being held out with a sore shoulder on Wednesday. Shula said Grant could play on Saturday.

Corey Reamer who is also out with a minor injury, has also not been ruled out for Saturday's contest.

As for placekicker Jamie Christensen, Shula was less optimistic but said it will be a game day decision. "If we had to play today he probably wouldn't play," Shula said.

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