TUSCALOOSA — Alabama’s Barrett Jones wound up as a video star when he joined a mass celebration on Tuscaloosa’s Strip on Saturday night.
After Stanford beat Oregon, clearing a path for the Crimson Tide to rejoin the national championship race, fans hit the streets near campus, and plenty of online videos recorded the event. Some show Jones slapping hands with other fans and yelling, “Woohoohoo!”
“It wasn’t me,” Jones joked Tuesday.
He confessed, however, saying this is the honest truth:
“I live right beside there,” he said. “I live within a quarter of a mile. So after it happened, everyone was just like running around the streets and everyone started running to The Strip. I mean, I’m in college, I got to at least see what it looks like.
“So I just walked down there and looked around, and all of the sudden there was just a mob of people and the next thing I knew, people were recognizing me, and I was getting mobbed and I started high-fiving people. I was probably down there for five minutes total and I ended up on every video. It was pretty crazy.”
An Alabama communications staff member joked with Jones about how he was wearing team-issued gear, which is what the Tide asks players to do for television interviews.
“Well, OK, I just hadn’t changed since after the game,” he said. “It wasn’t like I put on my team-issued gear and was like, ‘Oh! Recognize me!’ ”
The American Football Coaches Association has named Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as the organization’s assistant coach of the year.
Under Smart’s direction, the Alabama defense ranks No. 1 nationally in scoring defense, No. 2 in total defense and No. 3 in rushing defense. Smart has worked at Alabama for six seasons, coordinating defenses that helped win national championships in 2009 and 2011.
He also participated in tornado relief efforts in 2011 and works with Nick Saban’s “Nick’s Kids Fund.” That’s relevant to this award because community service is one of the criteria.
The AFCA award honors assistant coaches “who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.”
It’s Jones to return punts
Saban said sophomore Christion Jones will return punts Saturday instead of freshman Cyrus Jones.
Christion Jones fumbled away a punt in last week’s 49-0 win over Western Carolina, and the Tide replaced him after that with Cyrus Jones.
“Christion Jones is our punt return guy,” Saban said. “We wanted to try to get Cyrus more experience at doing it. We didn’t take Christion out because he misplayed a ball.”
Christion Jones said Saban pulled him aside and told him he wasn’t coming out because of the fumble. He has returned 19 punts this year for a 10.7-yard average. Cyrus Jones has run back eight punts for an average of 7.6 yards.