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.
Barrett Jones was named the recipient of the 2012 Rimington Trophy on Thursday night, which is awarded annually to the nation's top center. He was presented the Rimington Trophy during the Red Carpet Show prior to the Home Depot College Awards Show on ESPNU. Jones is the first Crimson Tide player to capture the Rimington Trophy. He was the third Alabama student-athlete to be selected as a finalist, joining Antoine Caldwell (2008) and William Vlachos (2011). "I am truly honored to be recognized as the winner of the Rimington Trophy," said Jones. "The job of learning the center position as a senior has been one of the most difficult challenges of my career, but also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding. With that said, this award would not have been possible without of my teammates, coaches and specifically the rest of our offensive line."
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.
The football team had four first-year players selected to the 13th annual Southeastern Conference Coaches' All-Freshman Team, which was announced by the league on Thursday. On offense, the Crimson Tide was represented by wide receiver Amari Cooper, center Ryan Kelly and running back T.J. Yeldon. Alabama's lone selection on defense was lineman D.J. Pettway. Alabama, Florida and Texas A&M led the way with four selections each, while Arkansas and South Carolina placed three on the team. Georgia, LSU and Mississippi each had two.
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."
"One thing you don't realize, if one of our coordinators walked in the room with the offensive or defensive team and said, 'I'm going to become the head coach at wherever,' those players would be happy for that person who has worked hard with them and helped them develop as players," Saban said, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. "And they would be happy for them and their families, that they would have an opportunity to work hard for something they have created for themselves. So this is not a negative thing, at all. But again, you know, everybody's got to be a professional about it."
University of Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is expected to interview for the head coach opening at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American. Interviews for the position began Thursday and will continue through Saturday and will also likely include three other offensive coordinators -- North Carolina's Blake Anderson, Texas Tech's Neal Brown and Oklahoma State's Todd Monken -- according to the publication.
Football Bowl Subdivision schools will each receive $300,000 annually from the new playoff format if the Academic Progress Rate score of their football team reaches at least 930. BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock, who will administer the playoffs, told Bloomberg.com this week a four-year 930 score will become the standard to receive that portion of the playoff money. The NCAA says a 930 equates to a 50-percent graduation rate, and it's the cutoff point for postseason participation in all sports.
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."