Alabama coach Nick Saban is toying with the idea of potentially trying wide receiver Julio Jones as...


Alabama coach Nick Saban is toying with the idea of potentially trying wide receiver Julio Jones as a safety on defense this spring. The 6-foot-4, 211-pound Jones, a former Foley standout, has been the Crimson Tide's leading receiver each of the past two seasons. It's not that he would move from offense. Instead, Saban compared the idea to what he once did with receiver Michael Clayton, who played on both sides of the football for a short time at LSU.

Gentry Estes: Tide WR Julio Jones trying defense? It may happen this spring Clearly a move like this would be a short-term, emergency move just in case we had a lot of trouble in the defensive backfield, but even so things like this have to concern you a bit. The mere fact that we are apparently going to try no less than three wide receivers at safety this spring really tells you a lot about the possible dearth of talent we have at free safety (especially if a key injury or two hits). Furthermore, I think it also tells you that, despite the ongoing appeal process, the coaching staff really doesn't expect that Robby Green will be back. If Green returning for 2010 was probable, that would give us Barron, Green, Woodson, Lester, and Perry at safety -- plus possibly Jarrick Williams and Wesley Neighbors if need be -- and there would really be no need to be preparing three wide receivers to play at safety. Realistically, though, given all that is happening now, I think what it tells you is that Green likely won't return until 2011, and that guys like Lester and Neighbors really aren't ready to play like we would hope. As a result, unless either Perry or Williams can come in and show something immediately this Fall, that is going to necessitate us possibly having to move someone over if we have something that happens to either Barron or Woodson (the latter of which effectively has a de facto starting job at this point, I imagine).