UA defense to eclipse 40 sacks, first time since 2002
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Alabama head coach Nick Saban has produced some of the best defenses nationally since arriving at Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2007. The Crimson Tide has totaled at least 30 sacks on defense in its three national championship seasons (2009, 2011-12), but it has an opportunity to do something that has not been accomplished in 13 years, eclipse 40 sacks.
Former Crimson Tide head coach Dennis Franchione saw Alabama reached the mark in 2002 with 44 sacks.
Prior to this year, Saban’s most ferocious defense was in 2012. The team finished with 35 sacks, 11 of which came from Adrian Hubbard (7.0) and C.J. Mosley (4.0) combined.
The Tide led the nation in all five major defensive categories in 2011, but managed 30 sacks. Courtney Upshaw was the ringleader with 9.5, while Donta Hightower had four sacks.
Pairing defensive line coach Bo Davis with outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi has paid dividends for Alabama. This year’s group has 38 sacks, which is the most in the Saban era.
It recorded nine last week in a 31-6 drubbing of Mississippi State. Defensive end Jonathan Allen anchors the bunch with nine sacks, while linebacker Tim Williams stands at 5.5 sacks.
The Tide leads the SEC in sacks and is second nationally in sacks, behind Penn State (42).
Alabama has two games remaining on its regular season schedule and a shot to play for Southeastern Conference Championship, providing it wins out. Giving Saban his first defensive unit with 40 sacks is very possible.
Charleston Southern will be the victim this week at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.