Barrett Jones Has Grasp Of Process

Alabama Coach Nick Saban knows something about winning football games. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that means he doesn't worry about winning the game. His focus, and the focus of his team, has to be on doing things correctly. That's the process. It leads to a satisfying result.



Barrett Jones may be just a redshirt freshman, but the Alabama starting right guard from Memphis is a smart man. Really smart, as in 4.0 grade point average and Academic All-America. He understands the process. That's part of the reason he's a good player. He was also Freshman All-America.

This week fundamentals. Next week start getting ready for Texas. Look at the scoreboard when the game is over. Well, he admits, there may be a little fudging on that last.

Asked if Alabama had reached the point that the only thing that can beat the Crimson Tide is its own mistakes, Jones said, "We've said that from the beginning. We know we have a lot of talent. At the same time, it's about us, about what we do. If we take care of our assignments on the field, the game will probably end up in our favor.

"We try not to look at the score during the game -- well, we say that; obviously we look at the score -- we try to go out there and execute every play and complete our assignment, and things will work themselves out."

Alabama's football team is now working on assignments to be applied in the national championship game. The process this year has produced 13 victories and a number one ranking for the Crimson Tide. Bama will meet number two Texas, also 13-0, in the BCS game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on January 7.

On Tuesday the Tide completed its third practice since winning the Southeastern Conference championship with a 32-13 win over previously number one ranked Florida. Bama was out for two hours in shells.

Alabama will practice again on Wednesday morning before a three-day holiday break. Alabama Coach Nick Saban said earlier this week he was contemplating the Wednesday workout being "more game-like," though not necessarily scrimmage-like, in which players are tackled to the ground. That, Saban said, is where most football injuries occur and he wants to avoid injuries.

The team will return to Tuscaloosa for five more practices beginning Sunday.  Alabama will depart for California on New Year's Day and begin game-week preparations on Saturday, January 2.  

Jones said Alabama has stuck to its plan to "really focus on our fundamentals this week, get back to the basic, continue to work hard and prepare as football players. I think we're going to focus on Texas next week."

That doesn't mean he hasn't given some thought to the Longhorns. "Absolutely," he said. "We've had a lot of time and want to use that time to our advantage, so we've looked at them. They are a very talented team and we're going to have to bring our best game."

Although there was some voluntary work for players in the two weeks between the SEC Championship Game on December 6 and the start of bowl practice last weekend, Jones said, "The break was huge. The grind of the SEC season is something a lot of people don't realize how much wear and tear our bodies go through. Get a week off and get ahead of those nagging injuries a little bit. A lot of people had a little hamstring or a groin, so it's great to get a week off and kind of heal up."

Much has been made of the job Alabama offensive linemen did this season in blocking for the running of the likes of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and protecting quarterback Greg McElroy without blockers being called for holding. There were very few holding penalties against Alabama, almost none in the last half of the season.

"We're coached to keep our hands inside always," Jones said. "That's something we focused on in the off-season a lot. One of our goals was to be a very sparsely-penalized team. That was a goal we've accomplished, and we have to work hard to continue that. We get our hands outside every day in practice. If you focus on keeping your hands inside, it shouldn't be a problem. When it happens in practice, we get our hands outside, Coach (Joe) Pendry points it out and we work on it. I think that's why you've seen that, because we do pay attention to detail."

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