West Alabama returns home

Published 9:58 am Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anticipation is so strong for Saturday’s game against Mississippi College that University of West Alabama football players are almost clicking the heels of their red cleats together and repeating, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Granted, no one would ever mistake anyone on West Alabama football roster for Dorothy from the 1939 film classic “The Wizard of Oz”, but Tiger players do hold a special place in their heart for Tiger Stadium on the UWA campus.

“It is going to be a good feeling to finally have the home crowd behind us and to play on our own field. I’m ready for it,” strong safety Otha Foster said. “A good showing from the students and the staff, plus having your family come watch you play, is always a good thing.”

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Junior college transfer and wide receiver Chad Toocheck hasn’t played for a Tiger Stadium crowd yet, but going on what he hears from teammates, he can’t wait for Saturday’s 6 p.m. kickoff.

“The guys who have been here tell me the crowd gets really loud,” Toocheck said. “Coming out of the tunnel is quite an experience according to those guys.”

With Wednesday’s two-hour practice under the Tigers’ belt and polish days on Thursday and Friday ahead, head coach Will Hall is focused on more than just getting out of tunnel on game day. He wants a 60-minute effort with positive results.

“We need to play well. We are embarrassed about how we’ve played,” Hall said. “It’s time for the real Tigers to show up on Saturday. Mississippi College is a well-coached football team that is fundamentally sound.

“Obviously our players are excited to finally play at home and I believe the whole university is excited,” Hall said. “We are ready to get in front of the home fans to show how much we have improved over the last week.”

Toocheck, Foster and all the Tigers are on board with their coach, and to a man they can’t wait to get started. And getting started begins with running out of that tunnel through the smoke in the south end zone.

“It’s crazy. Adrenaline running, blood pumping,” Foster said. “It’s just crazy … a good feeling.”