Jones played role in Roach's INT

Charles Jones could be as responsible for last Saturday's victory over Middle Tennessee State University as quarterback Tyler Watts.

In a game that was quickly unraveling in the Tide's hands, it was junior free safety Jones' advice that helped freshman linebacker Freddie Roach pick off a pass attempt in the fourth quarter to seal the win over MTSU.

"Take your drop a little bit deeper," Jones said to Roach.

So Roach did and dropped another few steps back into pass coverage from his linebacker spot and right into MTSU quarterback Andrico Hines' pass.

Jones (#20) in action during Alabama's Independence Bowl victory over Iowa State.

"I dropped right into my area and he threw it right to me," said Roach, who ran the interception 41-yards into the end zone to put Alabama ahead 39-27 with less than three minutes remaining. "I was just surprised it stuck to my hands."

Perhaps it was that the Waynesboro, Ga., native played quarterback in high school that tipped him off to where Hines' pass was headed- or maybe it was that he was an equally prolific defensive back in high school. Regardless, Jones has established his role amidst the Tide defense as a leader.

"The difference is that I've been here a year long and I guess I know the defense a little bit more and I control what coverage we are in," Jones said. "My leadership role hasn't really changed all that much. It may just come with the territory of having another year under my belt on the team."

In 2001, Jones played in ten games, logging 310 snaps with 32 tackles, three pass breakups and is credited for causing a fumble against South Carolina. Jones posted a career-high 11 tackles against Tennessee and returned the following week with nine tackles against LSU.

Following spring camp, Jones was awarded the "Bobby Johns Most Improved Defensive Back" by coaches. Alabama safeties coach Melvin Smith claimed Jones was "steady," and replaced Reggie Myles in the starting spot in five consecutive games in which he started (UTEP, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU and Mississippi State).

Last May after the conclusion of spring drills, Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush complimented Jones on his improvement. "He's much more instinctive now," Torbush said. "(In 2001) all Charley saw was his own assignment. He would handle that and not see much else. Now he's seeing more of the field."

Jones (#20) works on his tackling technique during practice.

Saturday Jones had eight solo tackles in Alabama's season opening victory over MTSU.

Jones will need to have a big day to help corral an increasingly potent Oklahoma offense. The Sooners accumulated 509-yards of total offense in their season opening shutout against Tulsa on Friday. The rushing game accounted for 378-yards, the highest in head coach Bob Stoops' tenure.

"This is Alabama and Oklahoma, two of the top programs in the nation," Jones said. "There is nothing else like it. Play hard and be consistent. The goal is to be consistent and make plays when you have to make big plays. They have great players at each position, but they are no different than any SEC opponent that we will face.

"We have to play hard and make plays."


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