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LISTEN: Former Alabama QB John Parker Wilson talks Iron Bowl with RBR

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JPW was nice enough to stop by and share his thoughts on the dynasty, Jalen Hurts, and the big game.

Georgia v Alabama Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

I had the privilege of speaking recently with former Tide QB John Parker Wilson, a key leader of the 2008 squad that kicked off this incredible run. John is joining Allstate and former Auburn RB Ronnie Brown going #AllHandsIn this weekend, helping to build a new playground at Tuskegee Public School as part of a nationwide effort to battle childhood obesity.

Wilson is pleased with the job Brian Daboll has done this season and with the progress of Jalen Hurts. He predicts a close slobberknocker on Saturday and, of course, favors the Tide.

Check out the highlights, and feel free to listen to the full interview below (apologies in advance for the mediocre sound quality.) Many thanks and a Roll Tide to John for taking the time out of his busy schedule.

On the 2008 season and whether the players had any idea what Saban was building:

We did have an idea, we knew things were different when he got there. I think people forget that when I went there, Coach Shula was there, we were still on scholarship probation. You know, we just had this senior day against Mercer. When I was there, there were only about eight other guys. We didn’t have a lot of seniors. Then Coach Saban was able to come in with the recruiting class that he so famously put together...

That first game against Clemson in 2008, we knew things were different, because they were ranked, I don’t know, top five, top ten in the country. We came out and played good ball and were able to sustain it the rest of the year...

The Georgia game was awesome. That was kind of the turning point, but that first game against Clemson, you know I just saw Julio when they tore down the Gerogia Dome this week they asked him in all the things he’s done in the Georgia Dome what was his biggest moment, his favorite moment, in the Georgia Dome, and he said that Clemson game. That was the turning point for the program...

I remember those defensive linemen for Clemson were just on all fours, they were just ready to get out of the building...

On Gus Malzahn’s offense:

I think their formations and motions and shifts and everything, misdirection when the ball’s snapped is really confusing. They’ve got a lot of different things going on, and they exposed Georgia with their running game...

I think Kerryon Johnson is what drives them and their ability to run the ball is what drives them... if you can get back there and get pressure with your defensive line, control the line of scrimmage I think you shut them down.

On the growth of Jalen Hurts:

He’s grown a lot... and he hasn’t taken away from his biggest weapon, which is running the ball...

Each week it seems like I say on radio shows or whatever that Jalen had his best game. I think against Mississippi State, had some pretty sophisticated pass routes. We were asking him to do things like read blitzes and, you know, right there on 3rd-and-15, in the fourth quarter when the game’s tied and it’s on the line, Mississippi State dials up a cover zero blitz, where they blitzed everybody. Jalen recognized it, but at the same time, Calvin recognized it also... he was able to read it, break it off, and run a slant...

On Brian Daboll:

Daboll’s done a great job. He’s built on what Lane Kiffin did, and Kiffin was successful... I think he has made our offense a lot more sustainable...

Daboll has really installed each week, and it’s got more layers, more layers, and more layers of what he’s been able to do. First game, we didn’t see Jalen and Calvin running option routes and reading the cornerback, and seeing if it was cover zero, and having him running a slant...

Daboll’s running an NFL style offense with a college flair...

Key matchups for the Iron Bowl:

On the Auburn side of the ball, defense is their strength. They’re going to have to try to limit Alabama scoring points. Luckily this year we’ve been averaging, I think, it’s 40 points a game...

Unlike years past the biggest question mark for us, and I don’t really think that question mark is the best way to say it, but the key matchup this week is going to be our ability to stop the running game...

We cannot let Kerryon do what he did against Georgia...

It’s going to be about controlling the line and controlling the running game, and I know that’s kind of old school philosophy in today’s new school football, but it’s definitely going to be what wins or loses the game this weekend.

On Dylan Moses:

If last week was an indicator at all, and I know we were only playing Mercer, he had ten total tackles. Pretty impressive. He was able to dissect what they were doing, hadn’t played a ton, super athletic...

I think he read Mercer’s offense pretty well, so if last week is an indicator, and I hope it is, he’ll have another good game against Auburn this week.

Predictions:

I think we’re favored for a reason, I think that’s justified, I think it’s our game to lose...

This in the ninth time that we’ve had top ten matchups in the Iron Bowl...

I think it’s going to come down to a play in the fourth quarter. Whether it’s an interception, whether it’s a big play from Jalen running or getting a big play to Calvin, I really do think it’s going to come down to just a couple plays.

If we can get turnovers, if we can be a plus one or plus two in the turnover battle I think we can win easily, but I don’t see that happening. I think it’s going to be a dogfight, but I think at the end of the day we pull it out.