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Alabama update: Jan. 3

Matthew DeFranks | Thursday, January 3, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – No. 2 Alabama has done this before. They have been to national championship games, they have seen the circus. And they have succeeded, too.

The Crimson Tide (12-1, 7-1 SEC) will be playing in its third national championship game in four years after dispatching Texas in the 2009 season and LSU a year ago.

No. 1 Notre Dame has not won a national championship since 1988 and has not been ranked No. 1 since 1993.

Alabama senior guard Chance Warmack said the past experience helps the Crimson Tide prepare for the Irish (12-0).

“I would be lying if I didn’t say experience was a good teacher helping us play in this game, Warmack said. “However, this is a totally different game, different atmosphere. Notre Dame is a good team and we have to be ready for them.”

Crimson Tide senior center Barrett Jones said the experience angle has been overplayed.

“I think certainly if it helps at all it’s probably from a preparation standpoint,” Jones said. “I think the coaching staff has a very good idea on the best way of how to prepare with a long layoff.

“As far as the actual experience, once you get there it’s about who plays a better game, not even who the better team is, just who plays a better game. I think that’s a little overdone.”

In last year’s BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans, Alabama earned a rematch with then-No. 1 LSU. The Crimson Tide fell in overtime to the Tigers during the regular season but walloped LSU when it mattered most, 21-0.

Jones said last year’s game had a much different feel to this year’s.

“It was kind of another SEC game, it was in the South, and it just had a very SEC feel to it obviously,” Jones said. “This year is much more like the 2009 game [against Texas] for me. Obviously playing an opponent that not only we have not played them but no one we have played has played them, so you don’t really have an exact measuring stick.”

Junior receiver Kevin Norwood echoed Jones’ sentiment.

“Actually, it is because it is a different mindset and it is against a different team,” Norwood said. “But at the same time we’re preparing the same and we’re working hard. We feel like we deserve this so we’re going to go out there and play our best.”

 

Jones good to go

Jones, who has been slowed by a foot injury, said he will be 100 percent for the title game Monday and is “ready to roll.”

Jones has practiced twice since returning from the injury but still wears a protective boot on hi foot.

“The first day, I was a little rusty. The second day, I was a little less rusty. Hopefully, today, I’ll be feeling good,” he said.

The All-American has started 49 total games, at different offensive line positions, and said his experience gives him an advantage coming back.

 

Tide almost a dynasty?

With a win over Notre Dame, Alabama will claim its third national championship in four years. No school has done that since Nebraska in the mid-1990s.

But all the Crimson Tide players say becoming a dynasty is not on their minds.

“I don’t think me or any of my teammates are thinking about that right now,” Warmack said. “We are just thinking about playing Notre Dame, they are a real good team. That is the task at hand right now.”

Norwood said all the talk of dynasty should wait until after the game.

“We have to win first,” he said. “We have to go out and prepare the way we prepare.”

When asked if he was forbidden to talk about a dynasty, Norwood had a simple answer.

“Most definitely.”

Contact Matthew DeFranks at mdefrank@nd.edu