Alabama Center Barrett Jones 'Ready to Roll' vs Notre Dame
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Despite wearing a protective boot on his injured left foot, Alabama center Barrett Jones declared himself "ready to roll" when the No. 2 Crimson Tide take on No. 1 Notre Dame in the Discover BCS National Championship Game at Sun Life Stadium.
"It feels great," said Jones, who won the Rimington Trophy as the country's top center. "I've been able to practice for a few practices. I think the first day I was certainly a little rusty, and on the second day I was a little less rusty. I think it helps that I've started 49 games. I'm ready to roll."
Jones, who won the Outland Trophy as college football's best lineman in 2011, has practiced only twice since injuring the foot in the first quarter of Alabama's 32-28 victory over Georgia in the SEC championship game Dec. 1.
In the last five weeks, Jones spent much of his time swimming and running on a specialized treadmill to stay properly conditioned.
Jones helped the Crimson Tide run for 350 yards against then-No. 3 Georgia in the SEC championship game.
The Crimson Tide need Jones when they face a Notre Dame defense that ranks No. 1 nationally in scoring defense (10.3 points per game), fourth in rushing defense (92.4 yards) and sixth in total defense (286.8).
"I'm not worried about him," Alabama guard Chance Warmack said. "He came in and practiced two days ago. He came right in and it was like he was never hurt. He's making the right calls and moving pretty good."
Jones expects tough opposition from Notre Dame, especially its nose guard Louis Nix III.
"He's pretty big," Jones said. "He's got great size to him [6-foot-3, 326 pounds], but he's got really good foot quickness to him for a guy that big. He does a really good job with his hands. He's probably the best nose guard I've played all season."
SI.com's Andy Staples gives an update on the senior leaders for Alabama and Notre Dame as the two teams prepare for the national championship game
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