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Alabama, Ole Miss continue preparations for spring games


From Special Reports



TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama football team practiced for two hours in full pads on Monday at the Thomas Drew Practice Fields, marking the ninth practice of the spring. 


It was the first practice for the Crimson Tide following the initial scrimmage of the spring Saturday. Alabama's offensive line is looking to replace three starters from last year's group that was considered one of the best in the nation. Junior guard Arie Kouandjio, who is battling for one of those jobs, likes what he sees in the 2013 line but knows there is a lot of work to be done and pieces that must be molded into shape. 


"Saturday was a great barometer for where we are as an offensive line," Kouandjio said. "There is still work we need to do, but we are moving in the right direction." 


Monday's practice gave the Crimson Tide a chance to correct the mistakes from the scrimmage and to build on the work that has been done this spring. 


"Practice was good today," Kouandjio said. "We had a lot of little things -- small technical things -- that we had to get fix today. There are always going to be things that you can improve on, even the things you are doing right, you want to execute at a higher level." 


Alabama's 2013 A-Day Game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. ESPN2 will televise the game live. The game is free to the public. 


n Rebels work outside, prepare for final week before BancorpSouth Grove Bowl: At Oxford, With spring clearly in the air and Monday morning temperatures hovering around 60, the University of Mississippi football team worked outside on the practice fields sitting below Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. 


Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was pleased with the energy the Rebels brought Monday as they began their final week of practices before the 2013 BancorpSouth Grove Bowl. Freeze also said he liked the way they responded to a Monday morning after a physical Saturday scrimmage. 


"I love being outside," Freeze said. "I didn't think about that when we decided to do early mornings. We've had such a cold, rainy spring that you certainly don't want to come out when you can go in a beautiful indoor (facility) like we have. But the first chance we got (to come out), you see where we are. It's good to be out here." 


Leaving Saturday's scrimmage, Freeze said the Rebel offense showed better energy than the defense and moved the ball. After reviewing film of the scrimmage, his feelings were much the same. 


"There were some nice bright spots offensively and the quarterbacks did better," Freeze said. "It makes us different when we put them live, too. It kind of adds another dimension to us. I didn't think there was a lot of loafing on the defensive side, they just didn't play quite as fundamentally sound as they did Friday." 


With practices Wednesday and Friday before the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl, Freeze addressed what he was looking to see in this week's remaining practices, which on offense would include cutting out negative plays. 


"I'll be curious to see how many we had today, but sometimes that's a little difficult because they're doing a lot of things defensively," Freeze said. "We're playing in that second offensive line some kids who are brand new to this. And we have some injuries up there that are causing some difficulty. 


"Then defensively, cut out the big plays and the penalties," Freeze continued. "We had too many penalties Saturday in the scrimmage." 


Wednesday's practice will be in full pads, while Friday's practice will be a brief, non-contact walk-through. Both practices are scheduled for 8 a.m. The Rebels will then suit up for the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl at 1 p.m. Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Admission to the game is free, and CSS will televise the game live.  




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