McClain and Woodson Expected to Play, But at What Capacity?

With only one day left, we've pretty well entered the "calm before the storm" phase of preparations, but there is one concern going in and unfortunately for Alabama it's a big one.  Both Rolando McClain and Rod Woodson have been ill with a stomach virus the past few days and, even though it's a minor ailment, it could come back to haunt us tomorrow night.  The biggest concern is their ability to get properly hydrated before the game and then stay hydrated throughout.  McClain, as a starter, is the bigger concern though Woodson has been a solid special teams contributor and considering the Longhorns' kick return abilities losing his speed and sure tackling would be a real detriment.  Saban seems pretty confident that both will play, though:

"Those players are better today," Saban said. "If they continue to improve, they should be able to participate in the game."

Saban said McClain and Woodson will go through this afternoon's walk-through at the Rose Bowl stadium.

McClain didn't do much at practice yesterday, according to Saban, who added that "I think he's capable of recovering."

Again, the real concern is not "if" they will play, but how well.  Recall that Patrick Peterson cramped up during the LSU game and, while on the sidelines trying to get rehydrated, Julio Jones burned the Tiger secondary for the go ahead score on a simple receiver screen.  McClain played a pivotal role in the SEC Championship game by containing Tebow and keeping him from making plays when he did escape the pocket, and with a similarly mobile Colt McCoy having a diminished (or worse, absent) McClain could hurt the defense.  Fingers crossed that both will be well enough to play to their full abilities tomorrow night.

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