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November 26, 2012

Notebook: Black is back

TUSCALOOSA | When Ryan Anderson leveled Chris Black at Alabama's open practice on Fan Day in August, causing a shoulder injury, the Crimson Tide's freshman wide receiver wasn't expected to play this season.

But Black's gradual return to health has combined with other injuries at the receiver position to make it a late-season possibility. On Monday, Black was in a white practice jersey for the first time since August, which signifies medical clearance for contact, and wearing his own No. 5. A week earlier, he was in a non-contact black jersey on the scout team, wearing No. 80 to match Auburn's Emory Blake.

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"He's been practicing for three weeks now. Now he's been cleared. So we're going to try to get him some reps because we're getting down to where we only have maybe five guys that have much experience at the position," UA coach Nick Saban said. "We still feel good about the guys that we have. We just need to get more guys ready to play so that they can complement each other."

Saban had previously suggested it wouldn't make much sense to play Black this year, as it would cost him what would otherwise be a redshirt season. But that was before a season-ending injury to Kenny Bell, who broke his leg against Auburn. Receiver DeAndrew White was lost for the season earlier in the year with a knee injury. It remains to be seen whether Black is ready to play Saturday against Georgia, but receiver Kevin Norwood believes the freshman is up for the challenge, despite not having played all season..

"It's going to be very difficult, being that he really hasn't played all season, but he's been out there practicing a little bit. It's going to be real tough," Norwood said. "With his mentality, I'm pretty sure he can come away with something."

Saban said wide receiver is a position where the UA staff would prefer to rotate players, making depth more important.

"Guys get a little winded at times, especially when they run a lot of deep routes or when you go two-minute or something," Saban added. "We definitely need to get more guys ready to play.It's going to create an opportunity for some other people."

SEC warns of counterfeit tickets With ticket prices for the SEC title game running well over $400 on the secondary market, counterfeit tickets are a concern for the league.

The SEC and the Georgia Dome will be offering a "Ticket Validation Window" at the main box office of the Georgia Dome beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, so that fans can verify the authenticity of their tickets.

The league also has advised fans to look for the authentic SEC holographic foil on several locations of the ticket.Two strips of the foil are located at the top of the ticket. The championship game logo in the middle of the ticket also contains the foil. Within the foil, the SEC circle logo should be visible.

Ivory on mend Saban said he is hopeful that nose guard Brandon Ivory can participate more in practice later this week after sustaining a twisted ankle in the Iron Bowl Saturday.

"He actually had a twisted ankle on the other ankle, now it's a different ankle," Saban said. "We're hopeful that after a day or two, he'll be able to get back out there and practice. This one's not as bad as the last one. We certainly can use him. He's played well for us."

Quotable "I've been hearing about him all season. I've heard he's an excellent pass rusher and a good defensive player. I watched him a few times on TV. He's a tremendous athlete, a monster." - UA guard Chance Warmack on Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones.

Tidebits Saban said he has not received any calls from programs without a coach inquiring about any UA assistants. ... The Crimson Tide practiced indoors Monday and resumes practice Tuesday.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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