Tag Archives: Cyrus Jones

Spring preview: Cornerbacks

Alabama defensive back Eddie Jackson (4)runs through drills during practice for an upcoming NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. Alabama plays Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo)

Alabama defensive back Eddie Jackson (4)runs through drills during practice for an upcoming NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013. Alabama plays Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo)

Cornerback goes into its second season of rebuilding for the Alabama football team. And it gets worse due to graduation.

This is going to be the biggest area of development this spring in terms of the whole position. Sure a quarterback is needed, but someone out of the six will emerge by the first game. Several were tried at the two spots, but no one stuck last year.

Spring practice begins today. Workouts are closed to the public. Check out my story on the new coaches in today’s edition.

Follow the blog and my Twitter.com/cokirkpatrick to keep up to day.

Who’s gone: Deion Belue, John Fulton

Who’s back: Jr. Cyrus Jones, Jr. Geno Smith, Jr. Bradley Sylve, So. Eddie Jackson, So. Maurice Smith, RFr. Anthony Averett, RFr. Jonathan Cook.

Newcomer: Fr. Tony Brown

What’s at stake: Both starting jobs are open.

Outlook: Belue was the shut-down corner, while the other position rotated between who was healthy and practiced well that week. Jones, Geno Smith, Maurice Smith, Sylve and Jackson all earned starts. This is a crucial spring for them. Brown, a five-star athlete, joined the team early to compete. This is a position coach Nick Saban works with on a daily basis and he wasn’t happy with mistakes. Expect to see these guys pushed hard throughout the spring. 

Alabama defensive backs Bradley Sylve (16) and Cyrus Jones (5) practice for the NCAA college football team's practice in preparation for the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama defensive backs Bradley Sylve (16) and Cyrus Jones (5) practice for the NCAA college football team’s practice in preparation for the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Jones, Belue expected to start

Alabama defensive back Deion Belue (13) looks on from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Chattanooga on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Alabama defensive back Deion Belue (13) looks on from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Chattanooga on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

The cornerback battle for the Alabama football team has settled headed into the Iron Bowl.

Deion Belue is expected to return to his starting role after missing last week’s game to rest his nagging toe injury. Cyrus Jones is schedule to remain the other starter.

“Cyrus has done a good job,” coach Nick Saban said. “Deion Belue didn’t play in the last game so Bradley (Sylve) had to play a little bit in his spot. If Deion’s OK, Bradley will probably back him up in this game. But we have confidence in Bradley and we have confidence in Cyrus.”

Check out my main story in Thursday’s TimesDaily and Decatur Daily about what the Crimson Tide believes are the keys to winning the Iron Bowl.

Here’s the notebook, leading with linebacker C.J. Mosley’s role in the game.

Here’s a story looking at who is betterT.J. Yeldon or Tre Mason. I’m sure readers of this blog already have their minds made up on this question.

Check out the below video of defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan talking about the Iron Bowl.

News and notes: April 10, 2013

ESPN’s visit to Tuscaloosa on a spring practice tour turned out to be more than a quick check-up on the program and an opportunity to build a background file: they found that linebacker Trey Depriest had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot and will thus miss the rest of spring practice with it.

Alabama linebacker Trey Depriest. (AP photo)

Alabama linebacker Trey Depriest. (AP photo)

“He might have hurt it a little worse in the scrimmage, so rather than trying to get him to continue going through the spring, which was a possibility, we just decided to go ahead fix it before it got bad,” head coach Nick Saban said. “It’s just a stress fracture which will take less time to heal, and he’ll have a better chance of a good recovery.”

Also on the injury front, reserve defensive tackle Wilson Love suffered a concussion in Monday’s practice and is out indefinitely.

Saban said Love will be out until, “his concussion scores get to where they need to be.”

Kick return game

While the offensive and defensive line units deal with numerous lost starters, the special teams units remain stable.

“Kickoff and punt, we’ve got just about everybody back that did it last year,” Saban said. “Dee Hart was probably the most effective punt returner when he did it. He’s obviously back. Christion Jones did it, Amari Cooper can do it very well. And I think Cyrus Jones could do it very well.”

New pupils in town

The massive crowds flock to Tuscaloosa for the conclusion of spring practice every season, and even a few days before the A-Day scrimmage. No, there’s no tailgating for A-Day or no one making a week of the two-hour spectacle: the masses are other coaches.

The coaches that flood to Tuscaloosa are part of the annual Coaching Clinic that Saban and his assistants put on every year during spring practice.

“We try to have the greatest coaches clinic in the country to try to pay back and give back to all the coaches and people who help us so much with our program here, and what they do to inspire young people to play football and coach and develop players for us to recruit,” Saban said. “We’ve got Sean Payton, Dick Vermeil and Herm Edwards, Chuck Pagano and a lot of other really good coaches to come here and talk to the coaches and maybe help them in some kind of way so they can be more successful in what they do.”

Saban even cracked a joke with his mind on the clinic.

“If you guys (media) were interested in learning something about football, I might recommend that you go to it, too,” Saban said.

Saban on position changes: “I don’t even know that we’re looking to make permanent changes.”

Alabama's Christion Jones (22, white) defending DeAndrew White (2, black) in Saturday's spring practice. (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Alabama’s Christion Jones (22, white) defending DeAndrew White (2, black) in Saturday’s spring practice. (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

The headline of the first spring practice was not an unexpected injury or the new coaches showing an out-of-the-ordinary idiosyncrasy. It was the move of Alabama’s fourth-best wide receiver in terms of yards, Christion Jones, to defensive back, along with wide receiver Cyrus Jones and running back Dee Hart.

“We have some players who are experimenting at new positions. That’s all they are, is experiments. Just to see how they can do,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “There’s two things that you need from experimenting with a player, whether a guy can do something if you need him in the fall and if something bad happens at a position in the fall, you have some basic knowledge of what he would have to do to be able to fill in for you if you need for him to.

“These are not permanent moves, none of them. They’re experiments.”

Saban cited a particular example of where such experimentation came through when desparately needed for a previous team.

“Michael Clayton at LSU was a receiver and we were a little short at safety and we taught him in the spring how to play safety,” Saban said. “Lo and behold near the end of the season we got a couple guys hurt, and he played some safety. But it was easy for him to do because he’d already learned how to do it.

“It gives you a little bit of an insurance policy when a guy can make that transition because he’s learned it at some point in time before. That’s part of what we’re trying to do as well.”

Saban likes what the trio has to offerm but does not forsee a mass pilgrammige across the ball.

“I’ve been encouraged by all those guys. They’re all really athletic. They’ve all played defensive back before, so it’s not like they’re lost,” Saban said. “And I don’t think there’s any way that all those guys are going to end up on defense. Maybe one. Maybe two, if they both have roles.

“In some cases, those guys have been very productive offensive players so we don’t really want to take away from that, especially Christion Jones, who has a lot of playing experience. But I have, in the past, when we had injuries or whatever, had guys play both ways.”

Nick Saban Press Conference Video: March 16th, 2013

In his first press conference of the spring practice schedule, Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks about new assistant coaches in their first practice with Alabama, certain players experimenting with new positions, the health of Athletic Director Mal Moore and more. Enjoy.

Countdown to Spring Football: Wide receivers Breakdown

Amari Cooper's big-play potential, including this one that was the go-ahead score in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, makes him the easy No. 1 option heading into the spring. (ap photo)

Amari Cooper’s big-play potential, including this one that was the go-ahead score in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia, makes him the easy No. 1 option heading into the spring. (ap photo)

Daily Bama Blog correspondent Brett Hudson, like he did for the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame, will count you down to the beginning of spring practice with another series. Each day, Brett will break down a different position group going into spring practice until the beginning of practice on March 16. Here is the schedule.
Today: Quarterbacks (click here to read it)
Tomorrow: Running backs (click here to read it)
Saturday: Wide receivers
Sunday: Tight ends/H-Backs
Monday: Offensive Line
Tuesday: Defensive Line
Wednesday: Linebackers/Pro Day
March 14: Cornerbacks
March 15: Safeties
March 16: Opening day of spring practice

For the third position group in-a-row, there is no shadow of a doubt who the No. 1 man is, as Amari Cooper (freshman year highlights) enters his second spring training with the Crimson Tide as the No. 1 receiving threat available.

Not only did the true freshman lead the Tide in receiving yards last season with 1,000 on 59 catches and 11 touchdowns, he’s also the only every-down wideout starting practices this spring, as Kevin Norwood has an uncertain status with a toe injury.

Alabama also has the two Joneses returning to the wide receiving corps, Christion and Cyrus. Outside of their kick returning duties, Christion caught 27 passes, third-best on the team, for 368 yards, and Cyrus caught four passes for 51 yards.

The Tide has three more wide receivers returning from injury: Kenny Bell and DeAndrew White. Bell’s junior season was cut short with a late leg injury, after catching 17 passes for 431 yards, while White’s season was cut off much earlier with his season-ending knee injury, holding him to only eight catches for 105 yards in 2012.

Finally, the Chris Black saga will finally take to the field after having his potential freshman season ended with a redshirt after a shoulder injury in spring training, despite rumors that he would strip the redshirt to play in te SEC Championship Game and BCS National Championship Game.

The Tide will have one newcomer to the position group for spring practice, New Orleans native Raheem Falkins. Falkins (high school highlights), coming in at 6-foot-4 and 195 according to Rivals, is one of three wide receivers in the 2013 class, but the only early enrollee at the position. Robert Foster (high school highlights) and Eddie Jackson (high school highlights) will join the team in the fall.

Breakdown: Two seniors (Bell and Norwood), two juniors (White and Chr. Jones), two sophomores (Cooper and Cyr. Jones), one redshirt freshman (Black), three true freshmen (Falkins in the spring, Foster and Jackson in the fall)

Prediction: Cooper will be the No. 1 receiving threat again yet again, and Norwood will follow despite missing some, possibly all, of spring training with the toe injury. Norwood’s absence does create a large opportunity for wideouts to separate themselves for the No. 3 and 4 spots alongside Bell.

The Joneses will compete with Black and Falkins for that honor, and an edge could be given to Black seeing the shot he had at playing time over the Joneses before his shoulder injury.

The other two freshmen, Foster and Jackson, look like they could be on their way to a redshirt season unless one of them strikes the scenes like Cooper did (however, unlikely, as Cooper had the advantage of being a early enrollee).

Four Alabama football players, two microphones and an audience

Alabama sophomore linebacker Adrian Hubbard before he got Alphonse Taylor, background, to join him in his "interview." (Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

Alabama’s Adrian Hubbard before he got Alphonse Taylor, background, to join him in his “interview.” (Copyright photo by Gary Cosby Jr. of The Decatur Daily)

MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — Hand some of these Alabama football players a microphone, and they’ll go to town.

That goes especially for sophomore outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard (42) and freshman offensive lineman Alphonse Taylor. They took the microphones from two Birmingham television stations and interviewed each other and teammates Xavier Dickson (47), a sophomore linebacker, and freshman Cyrus Jones (8), a freshman receiver.

They put on a short show today at the BCS media day at Sun Life Stadium.

Hubbard asks Taylor what it was like to block him on the scout team. Taylor asks Hubbard what it’s like to play for Alabama. They ask Dickson how fast he runs the 40-yard dash, casting a little doubt on his answer. They also claim Jones looks like a character from “Friday Night Lights” called Water Bug.

Anyway, it’s about two minutes long, so it won’t take too long.

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Video from today’s Alabama BCS practice

MIAMI SHORES, Florida — Alabama worked out this afternoon at Barry University, and we have three videos for you. The first features the inside linebackers going through a drill (18 seconds), while the second includes defensive coordinator Kirby Smart directing the inside linebackers (59 seconds). In the third, the Tide punt team gets some work, kicking to return man Cyrus Jones (36 seconds).

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Linebacker Nico Johnson has fun … as a blocker

Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson has shined on more than defense for the Crimson Tide. (AP photo by Jeff Roberson)

Just because you’re a senior who has played a lot for four years, you don’t necessarily get out of special teams duty at Alabama.

But that’s fine with linebacker Nico Johnson, a big contributor to the defense since his freshman season in 2009. Alabama has added him to the punt return team this year, and he has enjoyed it — especially when he gets a big block as he did Saturday against Tennessee.

In the first quarter, Alabama’s Cyrus Jones fielded a punt near the sideline on his right, then ran all way to the left sideline. As he started to make his cut upfield, he likely would’ve gotten demolished by Tennessee’s A.J. Johnson, the Vols’ leading tackler. But Nico Johnson put a clean block on him to spring Jones for a 32-yard return.

When asked about playing on the punt return team, Nico Johnson said, “It was real fun. This is probably my first year on punt return. It’s real fun. I’m glad I’m on it. This is probably the first year where we’re actually having fun with everything we’re doing. I’m thankful.”

For his efforts Saturday, Alabama’s coaches named Johnson as one of the Tide’s players of the week … for special teams.

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