TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Barrett Jones was able to laugh, the exercise bike is not where he planned on spending his Sunday afternoon.
Wearing a black non-contact jersey and a boot on his injured left ankle, the starting right guard joked with photographers saying he’d pump extra hard when the cameras turned his way.
Exercising close to the rest of the healthy offensive line, Jones obviously would rather work on the game plan instead of rehabbing.
But coach Nick Saban is still thinking positively about his all-conference lineman will be ready to go Friday afternoon when Auburn comes to Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“We’re still hopeful that he will be able to do a significant amount of work as the week progresses and have an opportunity to play in this game,” Saban said.
After beating Georgia State on Thursday night, Saban said the initial prognosis was favorable for Jones to make it back by Friday. He suffered a sprained left ankle in the first half of the Nov. 13 win over Mississippi State and sat out the Georgia State victory.
The news was also good for Trent Richardson who missed the last two games with a knee injury.
Saban didn’t comment on his status Sunday but the running back was practicing at full speed during the brief media viewing period.
McElroy on Rhodes
Greg McElroy doesn’t look at it like a defeat.
Instead, he takes a positive approach to falling just short of being named a Rhodes Scholar after Saturday’s final interviews.
“The way I was kind of told as they announced the winners is we were among the top 200 students in America this year, and that’s something we should be proud of,” he said Sunday. “ & Obviously I wanted to win as bad as anything, but if that’s the worst thing that happens to me in my entire life, I think I’ll be OK.”
Of the 12 finalists who interviewed in Birmingham on Saturday, two were chosen for the scholarships to study at the University of Oxford.
He wasn’t the only student athlete involved in the final interviews. In fact, there were among the 32 chosen nationally including Yale’s William Zeng (crew), Harvard’s Baltazar Zavala (football) and Dartmouth’s Gabrielle Emanuel (equestrian).
Just being a finalist was impressive to Saban.
“In my opinion, as a person, a leader I know the competition is tough but this guy is one of the best guys in the country relative to anything that anybody would want to pick for anything. Sometimes you don’t control all the factors when you get into this arena, but he’s been great for us, our team, and he’s a great leader.”
MICHAEL CASAGRANDE, DAILY SPORTS WRITER