Barrett Jones: If We Reach Potential, We’ll Win the National Championship
February 6th 2008 was the day the Alabama football program changed.
The program was swimming in mediocrity, looking for difference makers after head coach Nick Saban managed just seven wins in his inaugural season in Tuscaloosa. By then, Alabama fans were constantly reminded of the programs past and taunted by rivals that the glory days were long gone.
Then came the group simply known as “The Class.”
At the time it was just a recruiting class, but in hindsight it was the birth of a dynasty. The class included the likes of Julio Jones, Marcell Dareus, Mark Ingram, Terrance Cody, Dont'a Hightower, Mark Barron, and Courtney Upshaw-all selected within the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
The group also included a six-foot-five, 270lbs offensive lineman from Cordova,Tennessee by the name of Barrett Jones. Considered a four star prospect by recruiting services, Jones would go down as one of the most decorated offensive lineman in Alabama history, capturing an Outland and Remington award trophy while helping to reestablish the Tide’s place atop the college football world.
Five years ago Alabama was in the midst of a drought-16 years since its last national title and nine years since a conference crown. In the past four seasons the Crimson Tide have laid claim to 3 national championships, two conference titles and 49 wins. The same group has also never lost a bowl game.
The Tide certainly turned.
However as 2013 spring practice is just weeks away from beginning, the questions of a three-peat began on January 8th.
“I think and not to be too arrogant but with the way it is now and the way we have our program rolling right now its not going to be a question of players as long as coach Saban is there, its going to be a question of can we get the team to reach their potential” Jones said.
“I hate to make it sound unfair, but if we reach our potential we'll win the national championship every year right now. That's fact. I am not being arrogant, but the way coach Saban has this program rolling that’s the case” The former All American added. “But certainly reaching your potential is way harder than one sentence...it’s a very hard process and it’s hard to be motivated when you are coming off success. I think it will come down to leadership and can the leadership motivate these guys.”
One of the reasons Jones is so confident is because of the depth of the Alabama roster. While he, D.J. Fluker, and Chance Warmack have moved on from the program, Jones noted there are plenty ready to fill their shoes.
"I really think Ryan (Kelly) will be playing center. From what I hear Leon Brown is a really good player and could push for that right tackle spot. Also, Austin Sheppard has been a good player for us, Arie Koundjio coming off an injury has started to get healthy and play some good football and Kellen Williams."
The rest of the interview, including details on the foot injury, SEC Championship and just how good Ryan Kelly can be at center can be found here. Audio comes courtesy of Monday's edition of The Game.