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September 28, 2011TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama coach Nick Saban expects injured linebacker C.J. Mosley to be a game-time decision Saturday when the Crimson Tide faces 12th-ranked host Florida. Mosley injured his right elbow in Alabama's 38-14 win over Arkansas and has been limited in practice this week.
The prognosis for running back Eddie Lacy, who also has been limited in practice, is more encouraging.
"C.J. Mosley has done very little and probably is still questionable for the game," Saban said. "But he will probably be more of a game-time decision on what his situation is."
Mosley starts in Alabama's nickel defense, which is it's most common defensive set. As for Lacy, a toe injury sustained against Arkansas has limited his practice time as well.
"Eddie has only done very limited reps, but we are expecting him to maybe do a little more tomorrow," Saban said. "... He's just got a sore foot. They expect him to be able to play, he just hasn't been able to do a lot."
The UA coaching staff used multiple players to fill Mosley's role against the Razorbacks, and could have to do the same Saturday if the sophomore is unable to play.
"C.J. really, in the role he plays, really does a good job," Saban added. "He's a hard guy to replace. But we feel like we have some guys that have played a lot that can fill in and do a good job for us as well."
Saban also said offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio was limited with a knee problem in practice Wednesday.
Saban looking for better punting
UA punter Cody Mandell is averaging 38.1 yards per try this season, and Saban said he is looking for more consistency from that position.
"The punt unit is doing a good job, but we've got to get more consistent punts. I don't know what our return average is, but it's not very much," Saban said. "The hang time needs to be more consistent, the ball placement needs to be more consistent. Our average per punt is not what it needs to be. We have to continue to work on those things."
Saban said punting has been more consistent in practice this year than it has been in game action, and is hoping the strong practice performance translates to Saturdays "sooner rather than later."
Mandell's punting average ranks No. 71 in the nation. The national leader is Bowling Green's Brian Schmiedelbusch at 49.1 yards per punt, and the Southeastern Conference leader is Ole Miss' Tyler Campbell at 48.4, which ranks fourth nationally.
Friends from way back
Dre Kirkpatrick and Kendall Kelly were once teammates at Gadsden City High. But with Kelly taking medical hardship status during the offseason, their playing days as teammates are finished. Still, Kirkpatrick said he remains close to the former UA wide receiver and defensive back. Under medical hardship status, players remain in school and on scholarship, but no longer compete athletically.
"Actually I have a class with Kendall and we sit by each other in class," Kirkpatrick said. "We communicate pretty well, ask each other when we're going to the house, how's his family doing, how's my family doing."
Kelly was one of several players to take medical hardship status before the season, including former UA nose guard Kerry Murphy. Kirkpatrick and Kelly both signed with UA as part of the Crimson Tide's 2009 signing class.
"That he gets to coach as long as he wants to. I guess that would be the best thing -- before he gets ready to go sit on the docks." - Linebacker Jerrell Harris on a birthday wish for UA coach Nick Saban, who turns 60 next month.
Did you know?
The last three Alabama coaches to beat Florida in Gainesville were Paul W. "Bear" Bryant (1979), Ray Perkins (1986) and Mike DuBose (1999). Bryant won three games there, while Perkins and DuBose won one each.
Running back Trent Richardson and wide receiver Marquis Maze are within a yard of each other for the team lead in all-purpose yardage. Maze has 606, with more than half of that on punt returns, while Richardson has 605. ... Alabama has outscored four opponents 154-32 this season, including a 33-0 aggregate advantage in the second quarter, and a 31-8 edge in the fourth quarter. ... Alabama is off to a 4-0 start for the fourth consecutive season, and has a five-year record of 19-1 in the month of September under Saban.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.