Sunday, December 23, 2012
Tracking the Tide: Barrett Jones
By Alex Scarborough
Editor’s note: Each day between now and Alabama's date with Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship, we will review the season for a key Crimson Tide player or coach and attempt to project what’s next for him. Today we’ll look at center Barrett Jones.
Role in 2012: Jones continued to do what he has done throughout his career: change positions, make it look easy and rack up the awards.
The good: The redshirt senior made the transition to center appear seamless this season. He did not allow a sack in 266 pass attempts, according to Alabama. The offense hummed along, and, despite a few hiccups in pass coverage, the Crimson Tide were able to move the ball with striking efficiency. UA ranked 20th in rushing offense and averaged more than 38 points per game.
The bad: That little "hiccup" was Jones' biggest deficiency. Alabama allowed 23 sacks this season, ranking a pedestrian 53rd nationally. Jones said the errors in pass protection were, in part, a result of poor communication. As the center and leader of the offensive line, the majority of the blame therefor falls on his shoulders.
Crystal ball: It might not be such a stretch to call Jones one of the most decorated Alabama football players of all time. His four seasons playing for coach Nick Saban have been some of the most successful in school history, both personally and as a team member. He followed up winning the Outland Trophy at left tackle in 2011 by taking home the Rimington Trophy this season. If Alabama beats Notre Dame on Jan. 7, he would have three championship rings. Next stop: The NFL. Jones will likely go somewhere before the fourth round in April's draft. Redshirt freshman Ryan Kelly is a shoo-in to replace Jones next season. Jones called the former center ranked No. 4 in the 2010 signing class his protege and claimed he is "a whole heck of a lot more talented than I am."