Julio Jones Works Vs. Bama Defense

Here's what happened. The Arkansas defense didn't practice against the Alabama offense last year. And the Razorbacks aren't practicing against the Crimson Tide this week. Instead, Bama's offense is practicing against the Tide defense.

Alabama had taken a 7-0 lead on Arkansas in the second quarter of the 2009 game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa when Trent Richardson went 52 yards, breaking five tackles along the way. Then the Crimson Tide got some breathing room with a little trickery and deceit. Greg McElroy was split out as Bama was in wildcat formation. McElroy got the ball from tailback Mark Ingram and then threw downfield to Julio Jones. Jones took the pass in traffic, but swatted defenders away and ran into the end zone for Alabama's second touchdown en route to a 35-7 victory.

This week, Alabama goes to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas in a battle of top ten teams. Bama, number one in the nation, and the Razorbacks, number 10, will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CDT with television coverage by CBS.

This week and every week, Alabama preparation includes the first offense going against the first defense. That means very good competition for both sides, all players getting a taste of the speed of the game in big time college football.

"Probably once or twice throughout the week," Julio Jones said. "Wednesday and Thursday we will start to face each other, ones on ones. Earlier in the week we just try to work on the opponent."

Jones said in those best-against-best practices, "It's very intense. Nobody wants to give up an inch. We want to score every time we get the ball."

He said the goal is for the competition to make everyone better. "For instance," he said, "if I beat a DB and he gets made,I tell him, ‘Let's go. You have to stop me. If you can stop me, you can stop anybody.' We try to do that at every position. We have to compete and try to get better as a unit."

Jones said Alabama gets good competition even when its not first team against first team.

"Our defense gives us a good look, especially the scout team," he said. "Every play, like Will Lowery--he starts on 1-D (first defense) now. He came from scout team. Those guys just keep giving us a good look every day at practice."

Jones said that he remembered the Arkansas defense from a year ago as being fast. "And they're competitive," he said. "They get after it every play."

Jones, a pre-season All-America, is having a good year. He has made 15 catches for 248 yards with two touchdowns. He ranks tied for third in receptions and sixth in yards per game in the Southeastern Conference. But Arkansas Greg Childs tied for first in receptions per game and Joe Adams tied with Jones in that category with tight end D.J. Williams right behind. In yards per game, Adams is first, Childs fourth and Williams eighth.

"I heard they were supposed to be a good team this year," Jones said. He then amended that to, "They're supposed to be a great team this year."

Jones said Alabama would be balanced offensively against the Razorbacks. "We could throw the ball or run the ball," he said. "They don't know what we're going to throw at them."

As for his role, Jones said, "I just do what coaches tell me to do. They draw up the plays, they call the plays. If they feel like we're doing a better job this year of getting me the ball early, we'll keep doing it. Whatever the defense gives us, we're going to take it."

No one knows that better than Alabama's defensive backs—who have been getting ready for the Arkansas passing game by practicing against Julio Jones and company.

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