Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Alabama Analysis: Hungry and young at LB

Since Nick Saban arrived at Alabama in 2007, no position has become more significant on the defensive side of the ball than linebacker.

Names like Hightower, McClain, and Upshaw have defined the position under Saban, and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

The 2012 edition of ‘Bama linebackers have the ideal mixture of size and speed, to go with an abundance of talent. Only Alabama, under Saban and Smart, could lose the likes of Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, yet become a more complete and talent-laden unit the following season.

C.J. Mosley and Nico Johnson will lead a hungry group of competitors who are looking to make an impact in 2012.

The prominent players

C.J. Mosley
Nico Johnson
Trey DePriest
Adrian Hubbard

Emerging talent

Xzavier Dickson
Tana Patrick
Reggie Ragland
Ryan Anderson
Dillon Lee
Denzel Devall
Jonathan Atchison

C.J. Mosley and Nico Johnson

Alabama runs a 3-4 base defense with three down linemen and four linebackers. Due to rotations at the linebacker position during a single game, the second-team performers have to be “first-team ready” at any moment. Four linebackers start, but as many as seven have the potential to see action during a given contest.

In respect to who will play a vital role in the rotation this season, that question has yet to be answered. With a position as critical as linebacker, so much will depend on “practice progress” as well as which freshmen, if any, will be redshirted. On the surface, the easy choice in respect to ample playing time would be Xzavier Dickson. The Georgia product saw action in several games during his true freshman season of 2011.

As with a few positions on the Crimson Tide team, depth is a slight concern, but talent is abloom! Mosley and Johnson will be counted on to provide leadership within a hungry and talented group of young linebackers.

Unit Rating: 9/10

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