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Alabama All Day: Defensive Notes

A few observations watching a quarter and a half of the Crimson Tide defense:

  • Ever wonder what Sergio Kindle would look like as a player if he were still primarily playing linebacker? Watch Rolando McClain, who possesses a similar blend of unfair speed for such a big body (6-4, 255). Saban asks McClain to do a little bit of everything, and he's clearly the key to the entire unit. Scary to think about this group with Dont'a Hightower, who was lost early in the year to injury. McClain is that one guy Alabama simply cannot afford to lose during the national title game. (Who would that be for Texas? My vote would be for DT Lamarr Houston.)

  • Alabama's corners are as technically sound as any I've seen this year. Kareem Jackson turns his hips to run so smoothly, allowing him to play press coverage without conceding separation to a receiver on a go downfield. Marquis Johnson might as well be his twin.

  • Nickelback Javier Arenas is a special athlete, but you can see how eager he is to make big plays. It can be used against him.

  • Alabama fans have to like what they've got in sophomore DE Marcell Dareus, a bull of an end who reminds me a bit of Eddie Jones.

  • Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart's style is not what I'd call aggressive; he's giving Nick Saban precisely what Nick Saban wants: a physical, assignment-driven unit that makes the offense execute to move the chains.