Alabama Football News

Alabama Crimson Tide: Will The Defense Be Dominant This Year?

In all sports, one theme remains the same: Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Out of all the conferences in college football, only one has held true to this demeanor that being the Southeastern Conference and the team in particular, the Alabama Crimson Tide. For the real, die-hard Tide fans, they have experienced the best of both worlds. From the years of domination under coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings, to the years of struggle and probation under coaches Mike Price, Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione and Mike Shula and now back to dominance with head coach Nick Saban, Alabama fans have always found a way to stand beside the Tide through thick and thin. In his years with LSU and his one-year stint with the Miami Dolphins, Nick Saban has always been an intense, defensive-minded coach. Since his arrival in Tuscaloosa in 2007, Saban has changed how defense is supposed to look and be played in the SEC.  Every day on ESPN there is a show called “The Numbers Don’t Lie,” and if one were to judge the Alabama defense for the past four seasons (since 2009), the numbers would tell them why the Crimson Tide defense was so dominate. From 2009 to 2012, Alabama has been ranked in the top five in the SEC and the nation defensively. Coach Saban, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and the Crimson Tide staff take pride in recruiting the strongest, fastest and most importantly fundamentally sound players to run each position. If you don’t want to take my word for it, here are the numbers defensively for Alabama from 2009 to 2012.

Alabama Crimson Tide: Defense Behind the Numbers (2009-12)

Year

Points Allowed

Rush Yds. Allowed

Total Yards Allowed

Completion Percentage

SEC

RANK

NATIONAL

RANK

2009

11.0

77.9

241.7

47.4%

No.1

No.1

2010

14.1

123.3

296.0

57.1%

No.1

No.1&No.13 (Passing)

2011

8.8

74.9

191.3

48.3%

No.1

No.1

2012

10.7

79.8

246.0

54.3%

No.1&No.2 (Passing)

No.2&No.10 (Passing)

               In order to have a successful defense, a coach must have players who are passionate about dominating the opponent. For Coach Saban, he has had the luxury of recruiting the ideal players that have made the Alabama defense one of the most complex defenses to decipher and break down. Here are some of the players that have had the opportunity to learn from the master of defense.

Former Alabama Crimson Tide Defensive Players (2009-12)

2009

Position

2010

Position

2011

Position

2012

Position

Brandon Deaderick

Defensive Line

Josh Chapman

Defensive Line

Mark Barron

Defensive Back

C.J. Mosley

Linebacker

Terrance Cody

Defensive Line

Dont’a Hightower

Linebacker

Robert Lester

Defensive Back

Adrian Hubbard

DL/Linebacker

Cory Reamer

Linebacker

Courtney Upshaw

Linebacker

Dont’a Hightower

Linebacker

Dee Milliner

Defensive Back

Rolando McClain

Linebacker

Nico Johnson

Linebacker

C.J. Mosley

Linebacker

Damion Square

Defensive Line

Dont’a Hightower

Linebacker

Jerrell Harris

Linebacker

Courtney Upshaw

Linebacker

Jesse Williams

Defensive Line

Javier Arenas

Linebacker

Dre’ Kirkpatrick

Defensive Back

Nico Johnson

Linebacker

Vinny Sunseri

Defensive Back

Kareem Jackson

Linebacker

Robert Lester

Defensive Back

DeQuan Menzie

Defensive Back

Quinton Dial

Defensive Line

Justin Woodall

Linebacker

Mark Barron

Defensive Back

Dee Milliner

Defensive Back

Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix

Defensive Back

                With the loss of players like Dont’a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Dre’ Kirkpatrick, and Mark Barron to the NFL, it was predicted by most college football analysts that Alabama was not supposed to win the BCS title this past season. This is the difference between most collegiate programs and Alabama, most collegiate programs rebuild when great players leave, but Alabama reloads. Last season was the testament of the Crimson Tide’s greatness defensively, though they lacked a true pass rusher, it did not stop them from achieving the No. 1 ranking in the SEC and the nation in points allowed, rushing yards allowed and total yards allowed per game (8.8 points allowed, 79.8 rushing yards allowed and 246.0 total yards allowed.) Along with those achievements, Alabama also accomplished winning its 23rd SEC title and its 15th BCS title last season.

                This upcoming season will pose new questions for the Crimson Tide defense. With Dee Milliner and Robert Lester now in the NFL, who will step up and be the leader for Alabama in the secondary? For Linebacker C.J. Mosley, this is now his defense to lead and the question for him is will he be able to handle it? As far as the defensive line goes, with Jesse Williams, Quinton Dial and Damion Square now in the NFL, will Alabama now turn to the duo of Xzavier Dickson and Adrian Hubbard to create a true pass rush and strike fear in the heart of opposing QB’s in this upcoming season? Though these questions may seem mind bottling one thing is for sure, head coach Nick Saban will have his guys ready and prepared for a shot to once again dominate opposing offenses in a quest for 16th national title.

 

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