ALABAMA FOOTBALL:Crimson Tide Defensive Notebook

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ALABAMA DEFENSE

  • The Crimson Tide returns 24 lettermen and only five starters off last year’s squad.
  • The 24 lettermen combined for 92 career starts entering the 2007 season opener.
  • The Crimson Tide allowed only 16 points in its first two games this season and did not allow a touchdown in the first seven quarters of the season.
  • The 16 points were the fewest points allowed in the first two games of the season since 1989.  The Crimson Tide allowed only 10 points in back-to-back games to Memphis State (35-7) and Kentucky (15-3) in 1989.
  • The Crimson Tide has held three of its six opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.  Western Carolina (76), Vanderbilt (57) and Florida State (82) all rushed for less than 100 yards against Alabama.
  • The Crimson Tide held Western Carolina to six points in the season opener, the lowest point total by an opponent on opening day since a 41-3 win over Temple on September 7, 1991.
  • Alabama’s defense held Vanderbilt’s All-SEC wide receiver Earl Bennett to four catches for 53 yards in the Tide’s 24-10 win at Nashville on Sept. 8.
  • The Crimson Tide also held Vandy quarterback Chris Nickson in check too.  The junior completed only 5 of 18 passes for 67 yards and threw one interception.  He added three rushing attempts for minus-seven yards before being benched in the third quarter.
  • Alabama held Vanderbilt to 232 total yards on Sept. 8, the best defensive output of the season.
  • Arkansas ran for season-high 301 yards (53 attempts) against the Tide defense.
  • Arkansas and Georgia (153 yards) rushed for 453 yards in back-to-back games against UA.
  • Arkansas had 450 total yards in the loss to Alabama, which is the most against UA this season.
  • Florida State threw for 266 yards (19-for-30) on Sept. 29, the most against Alabama this season.
  • Houston is the only team to have a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver against the Tide this season.
  • Alabama recorded a season-high five sacks in the win over Houston.  The Tide had only five sacks in the first five games of the season.
  • The five sacks against Houston were the most by the Crimson Tide since recording five sacks against Middle Tennessee in the 2005 season opener.

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • The defensive line is thin on experience as evidenced by the fact that four freshmen have seen action up front this season.
  • Alabama’s defense has a three-man front, led by senior defensive end Wallace Gilberry (Bay Minette, Ala.).  Gilberry will play his 44th  career game for the Crimson Tide this Saturday against Ole Miss.
  • In 43 career games, Gilberry has 145 tackles, 38 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks.  He has also added four four forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and three pass breakups.
  • In six games this season, Gilberry has 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and one PBU.
  • Gilberry was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the week following his performance against Houston on Oct. 6.
  • He had 11 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two quarterback pressures in the win.
  • Gilberry also had eight tackles in the loss to Florida State on Sept. 29. 
  • He added a career-high four quarterback pressures in the Tide’s win at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
  • Junior Bobby Greenwood (Prattville, Ala.) starts at the other defensive end position and has 11 tackles, including four stops behind the line in five games this year.  Greenwood missed the Houston game with an injury.
  • Greenwood has played 29 games and logged 53 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7  sacks in his three-year career. 
  • He had a season-high four tackles in the win over Arkansas.
  • The Crimson Tide have also used sophomore Brandon Deaderick (Elizabethtown, Ky.) and redshirt freshman Milton Talbert (Hattiesburg, Miss.) this season on the defensive front.
  • Deaderick made his first career start against Houston, subbing for the injured Greenwood.  He had two tackles, one sack (-7) and one pressure in the win.
  • Sophomore Lorenzo Washington (Logansville, Ga.) has started all six games at nose guard. 
  • He has 20 tackles, three TFLs and two sacks this season. 
  • He made his first career start against Western Carolina (Sept. 1) and first SEC start at Vanderbilt (Sept. 8).
  • Washington logged a career-high four tackles against Western Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia this season.
  • Redshirt freshman Brian Motley (Autaugaville, Ala.) made his Alabama debut against Florida State on Sept. 29.  Motley missed the first four games of the season after suffering a fractured ankle on Aug. 27. 
  • Motley had two tackles and one TFL in his Crimson Tide debut.
  • True freshmen Josh Chapman (Hoover, Ala.) and Alfred McCullough (Athens, Ala.) have seen action at nose guard.

LINEBACKERS

  • The linebackers returned only one starter from last year’s squad. 
  • Junior Ezekial Knight (Wedowee, Ala.) and true freshmen Chavis Williams (Dora, Ala.) play the “sam” position.
  • Knight has played in six games and is tied  for third on the team with 37 tackles. He has added 5.5 TFLs, three pass breakups, two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
  • He began his career as a wide receiver before switching to defense in 2006.  He has played only nine games in his career on defense.
  • He made his first career start at linebacker against Vanderbilt (5 tackles) on Sept. 8.
  • Knight had a career-high nine tackles in the loss to Florida State (Sept. 29), with two TFLs (-9) and one sack (-6) against the Seminoles.
  • Williams has played in three games, mainly on special teams, and has one tackle.
  • True freshmen Rolando McClain (Decatur) and sophomore Prince Hall (Riverside, Calif.) share duties at the “mike” linebacker position.
  • McClain has started five games and is quickly making a name for himself around the SEC.
  • The true freshman leads UA with 42 tackles this season.  He has added four TFLs, two pass breakups and one sack.
  • McClain had led UA in tackles in three of the first six games, including a career-high 11 tackles against Georgia on Sept. 22. He also had nine tackles against FSU on Sept. 29.
  • Hall is the lone returning starting linebacker. He earned Freshman All-American honors in 2006 and finished the season with  77 tackles and led the Tide with 10 1/2 tackles for loss last season.
  • He made his first start of the 2007 season against Georgia on Sept. 22, subbing for the injured Darren Mustin.
  • He responded with a game-high 12 tackles, one shy of his career high at UA.  He had 13 tackles in a loss to Mississippi State in 2006. 
  • Hall recorded his first career interception against FSU on Sept. 29.
  • In 18 games, he has 103 tackles, 10.5 TFLs, two sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
  • Seniors Darren Mustin (Brentwood, Tenn.), Demarcus Waldrop (Pinson) and Marcel Stamps (Brantley, Ala.) all man the “will” linebacker position. 
  • Mustin has played in five games this season and has 25 tackles.  He has added three TFLs, one sack and one interception.
  • He missed most of the Arkansas game (Sept. 15) and all of the Georgia game (Sept. 22) with an injury.
  • He had seven tackles in his first career start against Western Carolina (Sept. 1).
  • Mustin set up Alabama’s first score against Arkansas with an interception of a Casey Dick pass at the Arkansas 15 in the first quarter. Mustin returned the interception six yards to set up Alabama at the Arkansas 9-yard line.
  • Mustin had five tackles, including one for a loss of two yards, and the interception before leaving the Arkansas game with an injury in the first half.
  • He recorded his first career sack (-6) against Houston on Oct. 6.
  • Waldrop has never missed a game in his UA career and will look to play his 44th  career game against Houston,  He has 67 career tackles.
  • Senior Keith Saunders (Willingboro, N.J.) and sophomore Brandon Fanney (Morristown, Tenn.) man the “jack” linebacker position.
  • Saunders, who played defensive end last season, made the move to linebacker this season.  He has 24 tackles in six games this season, including a season-high 10 tackles in the win over Arkansas.
  • Overall, Saunders has 49 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and two sacks in 35 career games for the Tide.
  • Fanney has played in five games and logged seven tackles this season, including five in the season opener against Western Carolina.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

  • The Alabama secondary returned the most experience among the UA defenders, with two seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup.
  • Senior Simeon Castille (Birmingham) is the starting left corner back.  He has played in 41 career games, second only to Gilberry and Waldrop among UA defenders.
  • He was a First-Team All-SEC selection last season and a preseason First-Team All-SEC honoree this year.
  • In six games this season, Castille leads UA with four pass breakups.  He also fifth on the team with 31 tackles.
  • In his four-year career, Castille is second among UA defenders with 144 tackles.  He has also added 31 pass breakups, 12.5 TFLs, 11 interceptions, four sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and one blocked punt.
  • He had seven tackles against Arkansas and Georgia.
  • Castille recorded his first interception of the season against Houston (Oct. 6) when he picked off Case Keenum’s pass in the end zone on the game’s final play. Castille also had six tackles against the Cougars.
  • Sophomore Marquis Johnson (Sarasota, Fla.) and senior Eric Gray (Trinity, Ala.) serve as  Castille’s backups. 
  • Johnson has four tackles, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery in six  games this season.
  • Gray, who had played mainly on special teams this season, does not have a tackle.
  • True freshman Kareem Jackson (Macon, Ga.) has taken over the starting duties at right cornerback.
  • Jackson has started five of the last six games, but three of those starts came as a nickel back. 
  • He has 26 tackles, one TFL and one forced fumble this season.
  • Jackson had five tackles in his SEC debut at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
  • He made his first start at right cornerback against FSU on Sept. 29 and finished the game with a career-high eight tackles and one TFL.
  • Jackson had a career-high eight tackles in the win over Houston.
  • Junior Lionel Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has started five of the first six games of the Tide.  He has started every game with the exception of the FSU game on Sept. 29.
  • Mitchell has 20 tackles in five games. He also has one interception and one pass break up.
  • He has recorded 47 tackles and four interceptions in 20 career games.  Mitchell had four interceptions (TD) and 131 interception return yards in 2006, which ranks fourth all-time at UA.
  • Senior Marcus Carter (Ft. Payne, Ala.) is the Tide’s starting strong safety.  Like Castille, Carter also has a wealth of experience and will play in his 42nd game against Ole Miss.
  • In six games, Carter has 24 tackles, including 1.5 TFLs.  He had a career high six tackles against Arkansas on Sept. 15.
  • In 41 career games, Carter has 59 tackles and 2.5 TFLs.
  • He is backed up by sophomores Ali Sharrief (Stevenson, Ala.) and Chris Rogers (Lakeland), and both are also prominent special teams players.
  • Sharrief has 13 tackles this season, while Rogers had added eight stops.
  • Junior Rashad Johnson (Sulligent, Ala.) is the starter at free safety.  He is UA’s second-leading tackler with 41 stops and the co-leader with 22 solo tackles.
  • He also leads Alabama with three interceptions, including a 28-yard return against Houston on Oct. 6.
  • Johnson has also added three pass breakups, two TFLs and one forced fumble.
  • He had a career-high nine tackles in the win over Houston.  He also added eight tackles against Western Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia.
  • Johnson has 82 tackles in 29 career games for the Tide.  He has also added four forced fumbles, 3.5 TFLs and three interceptions and two PBUs.
  • Sophomore Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.) is Johnson’s backup.  Arenas has seven tackles this season.