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January 14, 2013

Injured Jones hopes film will impress scouts

TUSCALOOSA | Barrett Jones won't be able to participate fully in the NFL Combine workout, and he won't be running at the University of Alabama's pro day in March, either. Rehabilitation from surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury - torn ligaments in the midfoot area - will prevent that.

But NFL teams looking to evaluate the 2011 Outland Trophy winner have film from 50 career starts to look at. And Jones is just fine letting that film do all his talking.

"That's what I'll rely on. I'm excited to take it to the next level. I'm still savoring the end of college and how fun it was," Jones said. "But I'm excited about trying to move on to the next level with a whole new set of challenges. I have 50 starts now, so there should be plenty of film to look at."

That film includes two seasons as a starter at right guard, another at left tackle and finally his senior year at center, where he won the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top player at the position. It's the sort of versatility that will help Jones' draft status despite his injury. Not to mention the durability of a school-record 50 starts at one of the most physical positions on the field.

Most draft analysts project Jones as an interior lineman at the pro level. Nfldraftscout.com projects Jones as a late first- or early second-round pick. Mock drafts indicate potential interest from the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. Jones went directly from Alabama's 42-14 win over Notre Dame in Miami Gardens, Fla., to Charlotte, N.C., for a surgical procedure that requires a four- to five-month rehabilitation. Jones will attend the NFL Combine but will not be able to run.

"It's a season-ending injury for most people. (NFL players) Matt Schaub had it last year, Maurice Jones-Drew had it this year. It's hard to play with it," Jones said. "I had to get a plate and some screws in there to get it all fixed up."

Tide RPI at 73

Is the University of Alabama men's basketball team already playing for Southeastern Conference Tournament seeding as its final hope for an NCAA Tournament berth?

The answer is probably "not yet" - but the upcoming week will be critical.

The Crimson Tide is No. 73 in the Ratings Percentage Index, thanks largely to a strength of schedule component ranked No. 25 in the nation. An RPI of No. 73 is not typically sufficient for an at-large bid, but it isn't so far away as to cause UA to abandon all hope.

The problem for UA is the relative weakness of the SEC. Seven of Alabama's 16 remaining regular-season games, including Wednesday night's contest at Mississippi State, will be against teams with terrible RPIs of 190 or higher. Following the MSU game, though, Alabama has critical home games against Texas A&M (No. 41) and Kentucky (an uncharacteristic No. 67), a road game at No. 99 Tennessee and a home game against No. 75 Arkansas to close out January. That stretch will determine whether February is crucial, or just a month of playing out the string.

Big numbers

Alabama's men's basketball game with Mississippi State will be the 189th in the series, the longest series Alabama has with any program. UA owns a 115-73 edge. ... UA converted its last eight free throws against Tennessee in picking up a comeback victory for its first SEC win. … Saturday, Alabama will play the 2,500th game in school history when it plays host to Texas A&M. ... Alabama's women's basketball team picked up its first SEC win with an 83-75 decision at Ole Miss as Kaneisha Horn scored a team-high 17 points. UA (11-6, 1-3 SEC) had six players score in double figures. Alabama plays at ninth-ranked Tennessee on Sunday.

Gymnasts ranked sixth

The University of Alabama gymnastics team is ranked sixth in the nation in team average after its season-opening 196.45-192.025 win over the Missouri Tigers last Friday. Its opponent for this Friday, LSU, is ranked one spot ahead of the Crimson Tide in fifth with an average of 196.475 after its first two meets.

Alabama is ranked sixth on vault (49.175), tied for sixth on uneven bars (49.05), fourth on balance beam (49.15) and tied for eighth on floor exercise (49.075).

On individual events, junior Diandra Milliner ranks fourth in the country on vault (9.925), while juniors Kim Jacob and Sarah DeMeo are tied for fifth on balance beam (9.9).

DeMeo is No. 1 in uneven bars (9.9).

Alabama will face LSU at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Coleman Coliseum. Tickets are available at RollTide.com.


Alabama's track and field program hosted the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener at the Birmingham CrossPlex over the weekend. UA All-America high jumper Krystle Schade cleared 6 feet to win her event, while the men's team got an event win from newcomer Chavis Ken Taylor with an 800-meter time of 1 minutes, 52.94 seconds. ... Alabama's men's and women's swimming and diving teams lost to Missouri at home by scores of 168-132 (men) and 162-138 (women) over the weekend. ... The UA men's tennis team picked up three doubles wins at the Crimson Tide Indoor Invite on Saturday, two by the duo of Harris Barnard and Stuart Kenyon. UA hosts a dual match with Alabama State and Jackson State on Saturday.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196. Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0225.
Marc Torrence contributed to this report.

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