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October 13, 2005The Alabama football team practiced for an hour in helmets and shorts Thursday afternoon as preparation continued for Ole Miss.
"We had three pretty good days of work against crowd noise, trying to simulate what it will be like on Saturday," head coach Mike Shula said. "It will be important for us to get off to a good start. We have to make sure we are ready to go for an early kickoff. We have some guys that will get more playing time with (Tyrone) Prothro being out."
Shula said the Crimson Tide has put more emphasis on special teams during practice and feels that it will play a large role in determining the outcome Saturday.
"Special teams are going to be such a big part of this game for field position," Shula said. "We still have not played anywhere close to what we think we are capable of playing special teams wise."
"We got some more work last week in the bye week and need to get all of our teams going and playing better there."
INJURY REPORT: Reserve cornerback Lionel Mitchell will be held out of Saturday's game after being sidelined for much of the week.
"He's had some excessive headaches," Shula said. "So we're going to give him an exam. He was playing a little on defense and a little on special teams so we're going to move some guys around a little to fill in for him."
With Mitchell out, Eric Gray will likely serve as the Tide's fourth corner at Ole Miss.
Wide receiver Tyrone Prothro (leg surgery) is still being monitored at DCH.
"We'll see how he does today and this weekend," Shula said.
EARLY KICKOFF: Due to the early kickoff, Shula said the team will work in Tuscaloosa tomorrow and that meetings would be moved up.
Alabama will hold a brief walk-through at the UA Football Complex on Friday before departing for Memphis via jet. With the team's headquarters located in Olive Branch, Miss., the Tide will not work out at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium prior to the game.
"We're going to get up early Saturday morning have the pre-game meal and then be ready to go," Shula said.
GAME CAPTAINS: Shula said that game captains would be junior right tackle Kyle Tatum, senior defensive tackle Rudy Griffin and junior safety and special teams player Jeffrey Dukes, who will be returning to his hometown of Oxford.