Eutaw native under pressure in first Iron Bowl appearance

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2003

Eutaw native and University of Alabama punter Bo Freeland will take the field Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium for his first experience in the Iron Bowl. The 6’5"257 lb. punter played just about every position there was to play while in high school at Warrior Academy, but it was his leg that brought him to the Capstone.

The transformation from the little AISA school in Eutaw to Bryant-Denny Stadium has been difficult but fun at the same time for Freeland.

He has had to deal with a great deal of negativity this season already but has overcome it all and looking forward to going at it with Auburn.

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He has definitely turned things around this season and has had great success on the road. "I like playing on the road; I seem to perform better," Freeland said. At Georgia he booted away for a 47-yard punting average and then in Oxford against Ole Miss he tied the Alabama record with a punting average of 52.4.

In the Iron Bowl the game is always close, and the difference between winning and losing can easily come down to how well the special teams performs. But Freeland knows all about pressure and is up to the challenge.

And while rumors continue to spread about Tommy Tubberville, Freeland doesn’t have to worry about his coach going anywhere. "I think coach Shula will be around for quite a while," Freeland said.

And don’t go thinking that just because he looks to be a real mild mannered coach who doesn’t ever get too upset that he doesn’t know how to motivate his team. According to Freeland, Shula’s looks are deceiving. "He came down hard on me a couple of weeks ago because he knew I wasn’t doing my very best. But he is a very calm person and I think that players seem to respond well to that," Freeland said.

Come Saturday we will see if Freeland can remain focused and have another solid performance on the road when he boots himself into the history books of the greatest rival of them all in the Iron Bowl.