Redemption On The Line For Jones
The 2019 Iron Bowl was a disappointment. Despite all the explosive plays in favor of Alabama, the Tigers benefited from a few beneficial calls and two particular turnovers.
Turnovers which loomed over Mac Jones for a full calendar year. Figuratively, of course, because Jones has shown one of his most valuable traits to be a short memory of regrettable plays. The same can not be said for analysts and Crimson Tide fans.
Jones threw two crippling interceptions in Jordan-Hare Stadium which proved to be the ultimate undoing for the Crimson Tide's hopes at overcoming the ultimate adversity that was losing Tua Tagovailoa.
The first was arguably, if not undoubtedly, the worst throw in Jones's career, before or since.
The ball sailed on Jones over Jerry Jeudy into the waiting arms of Smoke Monday, one of the Tigers' top returning players to this year's Iron Bowl.
The next was an unfortunate event befitting of the usual voodoo the Tigers enjoy on its home turf.
As much as Alabama fans would like to forget these plays ever happened, keep in mind Jones shut them out that very same night.
See fans and analysts worried that Jones's unforgettable mistakes would lead to Nick Saban looking in another direction at the quarterback position, but Saban relented. Saban knew just as we all do now that Jones's most valuable trait is not hanging off his right shoulder, but inside his mind.
This offseason, Jones made the decision to improve his greatest asset in preparation for his first opportunity to lead the Crimson Tide for a full season by training with high school teammate turned Navy linebacker, Jack Lundgren.
Those efforts paid off because, since those unfortunate turnovers, Jones has thrown just three interceptions, only one of which was completely his fault (his first two were caused when throwing just as he was being hit by an unblocked defender.)
Jones and the Crimson Tide certainly possess the firepower to take down the Tigers befitting of the revenge the team seeks. All the same, though not as talented as its 2019 squad, the Auburn Tigers will travel with a formidable defense.
Though Jones has long put out of his mind the interceptions from a year ago, the opportunity for redemption is looming large. Winning the Iron Bowl isn't everything for Alabama when a championship is on the line. But rewriting the wrongs of yesteryear will go a long way in establishing Mac Jones as an all-time great at Alabama.
After all, the postseason success expected of Alabama may only be a reality if Jones finds his redemption in Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday afternoon.