MIAMI SHORES, Florida — Alabama starting center Barrett Jones went through another practice today, as the Crimson Tide worked out in Barry University’s soccer stadium.
After missing about a month because of an injured left foot, Jones has practiced four straight days, and the way he’s moving around, it’s hard to tell which foot is the problem. The only sign is the protective wrap.
Jones said Thursday he would be close to 100 percent by kickoff for the BCS National Championship Game on Monday night, and judging from the way he is practicing, there’s little reason to doubt him.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban allowed reporters inside the gates for about 16 minutes today, and it’s the final time this season media will be allowed to watch any portion of practice. The Crimson Tide worked out in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts.
The Crimson Tide has a closed practice scheduled for Saturday at Barry University before a walk-through Sunday.
Also today, injured receiver Kenny Bell ran and cut back and forth just fine as he recovers from a broken leg, which needed surgery Nov. 25. After making one catch, he playfully dodged one of his coaches by cutting one way, then the other, then back to his original direction.
However, he still is wearing a black non-contact jersey, which makes it uncertain he will play Monday. If he does, it would add perhaps Alabama’s best deep threat back into the lineup.
Freshman linebacker Denzel Devall, who injured his knee Dec. 19, went through all drills today. He was cleared for contact before Alabama came to South Florida two days ago, and he appears ready to go.
Alabama tight end Harrison Jones rejoined the team today. When the Crimson Tide flew down to Miami on Wednesday, Jones was left behind for what Saban called “medical reasons.”
During the media viewing period, Alabama worked on punting, which the Tide usually doesn’t do with reporters inside the gates. Cyrus Jones, walk-on Nathan McAllister and true freshman Chris Black returned punts. Black is sitting out this season with an injured shoulder, but it should be interesting to see how he stacks up as a possible punt returner next season.
Former Alabama All-America center Dwight Stephenson watched practice. When Alabama last repeated as national champions in 1978 and 1979, he started both years. His son, Dwight Stephenson Jr., played for Notre Dame during 2003-07.