Monday, August 19, 2013

The Alabama Analysis: D-line prepares to shine

While replacing the likes of Quinton Dial, Damion Square, and Jesse Williams is certainly no easy task, the 2013 Alabama defensive line has the opportunity to be a very solid unit.

As is always the case with any team and specific group, health and depth will be a “major player” in terms of success. The Crimson Tide have an abundance of talent across the defensive front, but the bulk of that talent is very young and inexperienced. The depth, or lack thereof in respect to substantial playing time, will be an issue of concern entering the season.

Prominent players

NG Brandon Ivory
DE Jeoffrey Pagan
DE Ed Stinson

Emerging talent

*DE Jonathan Allen
DE LaMichael Fanning (Returns to DE after taking reps at TE during camp)
DE Korren Kirven
*DE Dee Liner
*DE/NG A'Shawn Robinson
DE Dalvin Tomlinson
*DE Tim Williams
NG Dakota Ball (Appendectomy – missed most of camp)
NG Darren Lake
NG Wilson Love (Undisclosed medical issue – missed portion of camp)

*True Freshman
In respect to the starters in Alabama’s base 3-4 defense, barring injury, Brandon Ivory, Jeoffrey Pagan, and Ed Stinson will be the main trio.

Ivory: Backup to Jesse Williams in 2012 at nose guard. Saw action in 12 games, earned one start.

Pagan: Played in every game in 2012 as a reserve defensive end, recorded 22 tackles.

Stinson: Starting defensive end in 2012, recorded a career-high 30 tackles.

As for the backup line, expect the likes of LaMichael Fanning, Darren Lake, Korren Kirven, and Dalvin Tomlinson to fuel a talented, yet inexperienced, second unit. Given Alabama’s defensive system, the Crimson Tide rely on a solid second-team due to heavy rotations; so many players will need to be prepared for game action at any moment.

In regards to true freshmen, the jury is out, and will possibly remain out for several weeks. The first note of business is which players, if any, will receive a redshirt. The second point of contention will be the rotation in regards to the aforementioned freshmen. Alabama has four and five-star talent across the board on the defensive line, but “star ratings” certainly don’t always equate to college playing time and success. Playing time is earned…not given.

As a whole, Alabama is stout on the defensive front. While the Crimson Tide will have to "mold and shape" in terms of building "game ready" depth, virtually every team in the nation would love to have 'Bama's "problems" right about now. Roll Spoiled Roll!

Unit rating: 8/10

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