Phelon Jones Hopes For Baton Rouge Win

When Alabama's football team last went to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, it was a tremendous disappointment to Crimson Tide cornerback Phelon Jones. But didn't Bama win that game in 2008, a dramatic 27-21 overtime victory?

Alabama has a great record in LSU's Tiger Stadium (25-8-2), and the last visit was another dramatic Crimson Tide win in Baton Rouge. This week Bama will return to LSU in a battle of nationally ranked teams. Alabama and LSU are both 7-1 overall and 4-1 in SEC games, and both ranked in the top 10 (Tide 6th, Tigers 10th) in the BCS rankings. Kickoff Saturday will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT with television coverage by CBS.

Phelon Jones, a 5-11, 190-pound junior cornerback will be delighted with an Alabama victory Saturday. But two years ago the Tide's win was devastating. That's because at that time Jones was playing for the LSU Tigers. He transferred to Alabama prior to the 2009 season and sat out last year.

This year, he has played both nickel back and cornerback.

Jones, who is from Mobile, was redshirted in his first year at LSU in 2007. In 2008 he played in nine games, including having two starts at the dime position for the Tigers.

He has played in six games for Bama this year and been in on 11 tackles. He also has a pass break-up. In Alabama's last outing against Tennessee he was a regular in the Tide secondary at nickel back with Dequan Menzie missing the game with an injury. Jones had four tackles, including one for a loss of four yards against the Vols. "I felt I played pretty good," Jones said. "There's always room for improvement. As far as experience, it got me well trained in what to look for and what the game speed is like when you play the whole game."

Jones said playing at Alabama is "getting better and better week by week. Hopefully that keeps up and I keep putting myself out there. I'm trying to do what the coaches tell me to do to better myself as a player."

As Jones prepares for his return to Baton Rouge, he said it will be "exciting to see all the places I came from, to see all the people and all the friends. It will be pretty exciting."

Jones also recognizes that Alabama vs. LSU is "a pretty intense game. Win or lose, everybody puts there all in."

And the last time Alabama was in Baton Rouge, it was the Tigers who had the loss. Afterwards, Jones said, he and his Tigers teammates "were let down because we didn't win. It always hurts to lose a game, especially in overtime. So knowing we were so close and didn't putt it out hurts even worse."

Jones said that Alabama has "make or break" games against LSU and Auburn, and that's always the way it has been. He said when he was at LSU, it was Alabama and Auburn who were likely to be the top competition with LSU for the SEC Western Division championship.

He said he occasionally speaks with old friends from his LSU days, including speaking recently with Tigers defensive tackle Drake Nevis. "We didn't talk much about the game, just talked about how each other is doing," Jones said.

Jones was a bit vague about his reasons for transferring to Alabama. "Things just looked better here than at LSU," he said. "At Alabama, the coaches, the players, the program were all great. I just saw a better fit at Alabama than I did at LSU."

He doesn't expect to get any extra razzing from the LSU partisans in Tiger Stadium. "I hope not," he said. "I hope they wouldn't do me like that."

Of course, Jones said he was unaware of any animosity towards Alabama Coach Nick Saban, making his first return to Baton Rouge since he left after coaching the Tigers. "Not really," Jones said when asked if the feeling had extended to the players. "A lot of people on the (2008) team didn't get to play for Coach Saban. They really had no connection to him. So it was just another game. We had to beat Alabama."

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