Daily Archives: November 20, 2012

Barrett Jones talks Tide, Oregon’s loss and sacks on ESPNU (video)

I meant to get this video up yesterday, but even a day late, it’s worth watching.

Alabama’s Barrett Jones appears on ESPNU’s college football show, and it’s fun to see his give and take with host Dari Nowkhah.

Jones is sharp, funny and can think on his feet, and it shows in this interview.

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Christion Jones, McCarron enjoy setting a Tide record

Christion Jones (22) and AJ McCarron (10) after Saturday’s touchdown as D.J. Fluker (76) is about to join the celebration. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – Christion Jones helped AJ McCarron make history, and he didn’t even know it.

It happened in the second quarter of Saturday’s 49-0 win over Western Carolina. Jones streaked down the sideline, wide open, and McCarron found him for a 29-yard touchdown pass. It gave McCarron 21 scoring passes for the season, which set an Alabama record. Greg McElroy set the old mark with 20 in 2010.

Jones didn’t find out about the meaning of the touchdown until he got to the sideline.

“Oh, yeah, he was very excited,” Jones said. “When you play this game, you don’t play for those things. But when those things happen that’s a very special moment.”

McCarron said an equipment manager saved the ball, and he gave it to his parents after the game.

“It’s pretty cool,” McCarron said. “Not so much for me, but it is for them just because they were born and raised Alabama fans and it’s every parent’s dream for their kid to play for the university and be quarterback and achieve something like that. It’s pretty special.”

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Barrett Jones confesses: Yes, it was me in the fan video

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Barrett Jones wound up as a video star when he joined a mass celebration on Tuscaloosa’s Strip on Saturday night.

After Stanford beat Oregon, clearing a path for the Crimson Tide to rejoin the national championship race, fans hit the streets near campus, and plenty of online videos recorded the event. Some show Jones slapping hands with other fans and yelling, “Woohoohoo!”

“It wasn’t me,” the Alabama lineman joked Tuesday.

He confessed, however, saying this is the honest truth:

“I live right beside there,” he said. “I live within a quarter of a mile. So after it happened, everyone was just like running around the streets and everyone started running to The Strip. I mean, I’m in college, I got to at least see what it looks like.

“So I just walked down there and looked around, and all of the sudden there was just a mob of people and the next thing I knew, people were recognizing me, and I was getting mobbed and I started high-fiving people. I was probably down there for five minutes total and I ended up on every video. It was pretty crazy.”

An Alabama communications staff member joked with Jones about how he was wearing team-issued gear, which is what the Tide asks players to do for television interviews.

“Well, OK, I just hadn’t changed since after the game,” Jones said. “It wasn’t like I put on my team-issued gear and was like, ‘Oh! Recognize me!’ ”

Jones said he has caught some grief for landing in the video.

“Not from the guys here, but from people, yeah definitely got some grief,” he said. “But I don’t regret it. It was fun. It was a neat experience, and something I’ll never forget. But we have quickly refocused.”

Here’s the video, which we posted for you Sunday evening. Look for Jones at around the 1:43 mark.

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Flashback: McElroy to Upchurch lifts Tide in 2009

Note: Every evening this week, we’ll give you video of an exciting moment in Iron Bowl history. Sorry, Auburn fans, this is The Daily Bama Blog, so they’re all from Crimson Tide wins. Check back every day through Friday.

Alabama whipped Florida and Texas with a lot less worry than in its Iron Bowl victory of 2009. The Crimson Tide won 26-21 but didn’t lead until 1:24 remained.

Alabama drove 79 yards in 15 plays in 7:03. Roy Upchurch scored the winning points on a 4-yard pass from Greg McElroy.

We have the video below, but before that, here’s the play-by-play for the winning drive:

Yard line, down-distance, play result
UA 21, 1-10, Trent Richardson 7-yard run
UA 28, 2-3, Greg McElroy pass incomplete
UA 28, 3-3, McElroy to Julio Jones for 9 yards
UA 37, 1-10, McElroy sacked for minus-4 yards
UA 33, 2-14, McElroy pass to Mark Ingram for 9 yards
UA 42, 3-5, McElroy to Jones for 6 yards
UA 48, 1-10, Richards 2-yard run
50, 2-8, McElroy to Jones for 11 yards
AU 39, 1-10, Richardson 4-yard run
AU 35, 2-6, McElroy to Jones for 7 yards
AU 28, 1-10, Ingram 1-yard run
AU 27, 2-9, McElroy to Richardson for 17 yards
AU 11, 1-10, Richardson 4-yard run
AU 7, 2-6, Richardson 3-yard run
AU 4, 3-3, McElroy to Roy Upchruch for 4 yards, touchdown
AU 3, 2-point play, McElroy apss intercepted

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Barrett Jones up for another award

Barrett Jones is a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award. (AP photo by David Quinn)

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Alabama center Barrett Jones is up for another award. He is one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker or interior lineman.

Jones, a senior, is joined by South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o as finalists.

Jones is the fifth Crimson Tide player to be a finalist in the last five years, joining Andre Smith (2008), Terrence Cody (2009), Dont’a Hightower (2011) and Courtney Upshaw (2012). Former All-America linebacker Cornelius Bennett is the only Alabama player to win the Lombardi Award (1986).

Jones has graded out at an average of 89.7 percent in the Tide’s 11 games, including eight games of more than 90 percent. He has only six missed assignments on 606 plays this season.

The Rotary Lombardi Award will be presented Dec. 5.

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Coaches’ organization honors a Tide assistant

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — The American Football Coaches Association has named Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as the organization’s assistant coach of the year.

Under Smart’s direction, the Alabama defense ranks No. 1 nationally in scoring defense, No. 2 in total defense and No. 3 in rushing defense. Smart has worked at Alabama for six seasons, coordinating defenses that helped win national championships in 2009 and 2011.

He also participated in tornado relief efforts in 2011 and works with Nick Saban‘s “Nick’s Kids Fund.” That’s relevant to this award because community service is one of the criteria.

The AFCA award honors assistant coaches “who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.”

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Thoughts from Tuesday’s Alabama practice

Guess who usually parks in this space?

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Yes, that’s a photo of an empty parking space above.

It caused a bit of confusion today while waiting for the Crimson Tide to open the gates so we could enter practice. Nick Saban parks in that spot. Always. And since August, I’ve never seen that space empty. Never.

Apparently, he’s getting his car worked on, because he was at practice today as usual, wearing the same straw hat he always does.

Alabama practiced outside in full pads, and everything went as you might expect. All the injured players practice. Wide receiver Kevin Norwood (leg) and Kenny Bell (foot) didn’t sit out any of the drills that we saw during our viewing period. Cornerback John Fulton (turf toe) went through drills, too. Running back T.J. Yeldon (ankle) looked fine, but then again, Saban said after the freshman was hurt Saturday that it wasn’t serious.

On the scout team, it’s typical for players to wear the jersey number of the primary players for the other team. This week, that means at least three guys are wearing No. 80 for Auburn’s Emory Blake, who leads the Tigers with 47 catches. Even freshman Chris Black, who rejoined practice three weeks ago, is wearing No. 80 instead of his customary No. 5.

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Saban on BCS: Unless we win the next game, we don’t have another game

Alabama safety Robert Lester has a bet that he’ll pose for a picture in Auburn gear if the Tide loses. He added he doesn’t look good in orange and blue. (AP photo by Jeff Roberson)

This is my story for today’s print editions:

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — By Monday morning, talk of Alabama vaulting back into the national title race remained on campus.

The top half of the student newspaper, The Crimson White, included coverage of the mass celebration on The Strip after national championship contenders Kansas State and Oregon lost Saturday night. The headline: “… And chaos ensued.”

But most of their football-playing classmates didn’t join the scene. While others might check online for hotel space in Miami, the site of the BCS National Championship Game, Alabama’s players say they’re thinking only of Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn.

“It’s college football,” said Crimson Tide senior Robert Lester, who added he watched Saturday night’s games. “Just like last year, crazy things are going to happen. Crazy things are going to happen next year. The only thing we need to worry about right now is to play our football and not worry about what’s going on outside Alabama.”

That’s the message coming from Alabama head coach Nick Saban, too.

“Unless we win the next game, we don’t have another game,” Saban said. “We’re trying to work our way into a conversation by how we play.”

Mention the BCS around Saban and you likely will get shut down. He won’t even talk about the SEC Championship Game. After all, as he pointed out, Alabama needs to beat Auburn to clinch a spot in that game.

“Everybody in this organization needs to understand that we’re dismissing all talk about anything except playing Auburn,” Saban said. “The Iron Bowl is a big deal. It’s a legendary game that people remember for a long, long time and still talk about games that happened in the past, had huge impacts and effects on the future of what happened.

“And they’re traditionally very, very tough games. It’s important that we play our best game.”

Alabama began working Sunday afternoon on Auburn plans, and during a team meeting, Tide defensive end Damion Square stood and talked about how the Tide could fall victim to an upset just as easily as Kansas State and Oregon did.

Now, few players are willing to admit they even paid attention to Saturday night’s games, as Lester said he did.

Offensive guard Chance Warmack said he was asleep in his dorm room, relaxing after Alabama’s 49-0 win over Western Carolina earlier in the day.

“I had just woke up,” he said. “Somebody was like, ‘Hey, watch television.’ I was like, ‘Oh, for real?’ So I clicked on and watched it. But at the same time you can’t really control what happens. You’ve got to stay focused on the task at hand – and that’s Auburn.”

While fans may look at how Alabama is favored by 31.5 points to win Saturday, that’s now how some Tide players are looking at it, especially those who played in the 2010 Iron Bowl loss at home.

“Actually, I have a bet with a friend that I went to high school with every year that if we win, he has to take a picture in Alabama gear, and if we lose, I have to take a picture in Auburn gear,” Lester said.

Then he added in carefully spoken words: “And I do not like dressing up in orange and blue.”

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