Alabama Crimson Tide
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel
Alabama getting healthy ahead of the Iron Bowl?
Don't look now, but it appears Alabama football could be getting healthy ahead of the Iron Bowl showdown on Saturday.
No. 1 Alabama plays at No. 6 Auburn on Saturday with kickoff has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The winner of the Iron Bowl will claim the SEC West Division, and earn the right to play Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 2.
Alabama coach Saban gave an update on defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring), kicker Andy Pappanastos (pulled muscle), offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher (ankle) and linebackers Terrell Lewis (elbow), Christian Miller (biceps) and Mack Wilson (foot).
"From an injury standpoint, Minkah will practice," Saban said. "Andy will be day-to-day. Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller are in the functional phase of rehab, but not cleared medically to play. Mack Wilson has not practiced yet, and he's not been medically cleared to play. So, whatever's out there, I'm giving you the facts from here.
"I'm not saying those guys are out for the game, and I'm not able to say whether they'll be able to play in the game."
Alabama was expected to be without Lewis, Miller and Wilson for the rest of the season, so getting one or more of those guys back this week would do wonders for the Crimson Tide's linebacker group. Alabama is in need of pass rushers.
Pappanastos went through warmups prior to the Mercer game, but did not make an appearance. Punter JK Scott handled all of the kicking duties. Scott didn't attempt a field goal, but he was perfect on his eight extra-point attempts.
Fitzpatrick didn't dress for the Mercer game. He was limited all week in practice, and the team decided to shut him down. Fitzpatrick was spotted in street clothes on the sideline cheering and coaching up teammates, particularly those in the secondary.
Miller and Lewis, who were both lost in the opener against Florida State, were two of Alabama's top outside linebackers. Lewis finished with 5 tackles, including 1 for loss against the Seminoles. Miller had 3 tackles, including 1 tackle for loss.
Pierschbacher missed the Mercer game with a high ankle sprain. He was replaced by senior J.C. Hassenauer, who was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week in his first career start.
"He's day-to-day too," Saban said of Pierschbacher. "He's not been medically cleared to practice yet. Maybe some time later in the week he will. We'll just have to see how he does."