Alabama senior center Barrett Jones was named the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America® of the Year for Division I football, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The honor comes on the heels of being named the Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the winner of the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, the Academic Heisman, which is presented by the National Football Foundation. Jones is the only four-time Academic All-American in the history of Alabama football and on pace for a fourth selection this season. The 2011 and 2012 SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he carries a 4.0 GPA, has already received his degree in accounting and will complete his masters in accountancy next week.
Alabama is averaging 6.2 yards per carry on designed running plays this season, the highest average in the SEC. On these runs, the Tide are averaging an SEC-best 4.2 yards before contact. They have made it at least five yards past the line of scrimmage without being touched on 35.1 percent of their designed runs. Alabama runs downhill with 67.4 percent of its designed running plays coming between the tackles. The Tide average 6.6 yards per carry on such running plays with about one in every five attempts going for at least 10 yards.
Still, the linemen, the running backs, the receivers are welcoming this "rest," even though off-season conditioning workouts are underway. And few could embrace this break more than Alabama’s nose tackles – Williams and Ivory. Team came first for both players. Williams didn’t just return to the defensive line after a blocker slid into the side of his knee in the first half, he came back to play the nose, play fullback in goal-line formation and play his leadership role. "Jesse, he’s unbelievable," senior linebacker Nico Johnson said of the Australian. "It’s just been injury after injury and he’s able to fight through it. Dude thinks about the team, never himself. He gives 110 percent every day and I’m just thankful he’s in front of me, keeping them linemen off me."
This is the third BCS championship appearance in four years for the Tide – Alabama won its previous two – so Saban obviously hasn’t had a problem finding a routine that works. "Many people have asked me how you carry the momentum of winning the SEC championship game into the next game," Saban said. "And I think the answer to that is, you can’t. You almost have to look at any bowl game, or any layoff like you have for this length of time, as the next game is sort of a one-game season
Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen said coaches who succeed in the MAC make a mark because the conference lacks the dichotomy of revenue and fan base that divides some other leagues into perennial contenders and constant also-rans. "I think it's a conference for coaches' development because so many of our institutions are alike," Nielsen said, "everything from budgets to the kind of student-athletes we recruit. We essentially have a lot of the same sidelines, as I call it. So the coaching really does stand out because you have to be better on the sideline as a coaching staff than the other guy. We play with a lot of same players because we're in a geographic area that's on top of each other. "So if you look at whether it's Nick Saban or Gary Pinkel or several others, they cut their teeth in that league, and they had to prove they were good coaches because they had to beat that other staff on that other sideline."
Alabama landed five players on the Walter Camp All-America Team, including four on the first team, which was announced on Thursday night by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Senior center Barrett Jones, junior cornerback Dee Milliner, junior linebacker C.J. Mosley and senior guard Chance Warmack all earned first-team honors, while junior tackle D.J. Fluker was named to the second team. Alabama has had 19 players secure 25 first-team All-America honors over the past five years, bringing its total to 111 first-team All-Americans in its history.
For Alabama’s opponents, it looks like the end of the Crimson Tide’s run of dominance is nowhere in sight. Alabama – along with Florida and Texas A&M – each led the SEC with four players named to the 13th annual SEC All-Freshman Team. For Tide fans, the appearance of T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper should come as no surprise. The names…
Johnthan Banks is probably soaring after winning the Jim Thorpe Award. The award given to the nation's top defensive back would make any corner giddy, but Mississippi State's senior is still looking for more. After such a good first half of the 2012 season, Banks had some struggles during the second half. Through the first seven games, Banks recorded four interceptions and was at the center of the debate for the country's top cornerback. But by the end of the season, Banks had the same amount of interceptions and was probably tired of watching highlights of him during the last five games.