Barrett Jones Has Eye On Spartans

One of the football players that Alabama fans can be particularly proud of is sophomore right guard Barrett Jones. He's been a two-time Academic All-America nominee as he has a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He is also an outstanding football player, who has earned on-the-field awards.

Barrett Jones has been a two-year starter for Alabama and has a long list of accolades. He was asked if he was particularly proud of one.

"That's a tough one there," Jones told sportswriters Friday. "I'll try to stay humble answering that one. I'm very thankful for any honors I get. I know that the honors I get are because of our athletes, especially with the big guys. No offense to you media guys, but I know you don't know a ton about O-line. We have skill players do good, then we get awards. I'm definitely very thankful for the awards. I just attribute it to good teammates."

Those skill guys, of course, are quick to credit the men up front, like Jones.

Jones hopes that one day his ability will put him into the NFL. "It's something that I'm working towards," he said. "I don't think that's going to be this year. I think that's something I definitely want to do and I'll continue to work towards that goal."

Would he consider leaving early following next season.

"We'll see a year from now," he said. "We got a long way to go before that. Ask me in a year."

Next on that long journey is the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on January 1 against Michigan State. Jones is anxious to be back on the football field.

"More than anything, we're eager to get that bad taste out of our mouth," Jones said. "We still have that bad taste in our mouth from that last game. It's pretty obvious. We just want to get back out there and play football."

Jones is particularly anxious to play because he has been out of action with a high ankle sprain. He didn't get to play in that last game, a 28-27 loss to Auburn. He expects to be able to play against Michigan State.

"It's feeling a lot better," Jones said of his rehabilitation. "I've been working really, really hard for the past four or five weeks on getting it better and it's starting to feel better, which is great. These high ankle sprains, they take a long time. I've been rehabbing really hard and feeling really great about playing in the game.

"There's still a good amount of soreness, but that's something I'm just going to have to play through. I think I can do that. It's much more functional now as far as strength. I think the Auburn game, it wasn't so much a pain issue. I thought I could play through the pain. It was so weak and it wasn't very functional as far as trying to push off and not having strength there and giving out on me. I think the functional part is what's starting to come around.

" I definitely wanted to play (against Auburn), but I really couldn't. It was physically impossible. I did everything I could. We worked extremely hard for 13 days or whatever it was, but a high ankle sprain, if you know anything about them, they're about a six- to eight-week injury. It's just really not possible for me to play at that point. It was hard for me. I hate being hurt, but it's something you have to go through and learn from it."

He expects to be ready for Michigan State. "When you get some time off, you have a chance to get back to full speed. You really can't do that in the grind of an SEC season."

Jones said the Tide players have just started studying Michigan State film. "Right now we're just more focusing on the basics," he said following Bama's second practice since the end of the regular season. "It's been a while since we played football." The Tide was to have a second Friday practice later Friday.

Jones said the players would have plenty of time to watch Michigan State film.

"We definitely know some basics about them," Jones said. "They have a great defense, so it's going to be a great challenge. They have some great individuals and a great defense. We're looking forward to that challenge. As any team, we feel if we do our job, everything else will take care of itself."

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