ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Defensive Notebook The Alabama defense ranks fourth in the SEC in rushing (135.4) entering Saturday's annual Third Saturday in October clash with the Tennessee Volunteers. The Crimson Tide defense has recorded nine sacks in the last two games against Houston and Ole Mi
ALABAMA DEFENSIVE NOTEBOOK
The Tide defense ranks fourth in the SEC in rushing (135.4) through seven games.
Alabama has recorded nine sacks in its last two games, compared to four sacks in the first five games.
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. 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.
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.
Ole Miss threw for a season-high 284 yards (22-for-40) against the Tide on Oct. 13.
Alabama’s defense has a three-man front, led by senior defensive end Wallace Gilberry (Bay Minette, Ala.). Gilberry will play his 45th career game for the Crimson Tide this Saturday against Tennessee.
*Gilberry has been a force up front for the Tide in the last two games, with 16 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks and three pressures.
He leads Alabama with four sacks this season and all four have come in the last two weeks.
He also paces the Tide with 12 tackles for loss, with 7.5 coming in the last two weeks against Houston and Ole Miss. He had four TFLs against the Cougars and three against the Rebels.
In 44 career games, Gilberry has 150 tackles, 41 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. He has also added four four forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and three pass breakups.
In seven games this season, Gilberry has 42 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, two PBUs and one forced fumble.
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 12 tackles, including four stops behind the line in six games this year. Greenwood missed the Houston game with an injury.
Greenwood has played 30 games and logged 54 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 has played in all seven games and started the last two games against Houston and Ole Miss.
*In seven games, he has 12 tackles and two sacks. He had two tackles, one sack (-7) and one pressure against Houston and added two tackles and one sack (-11) at Ole Miss.
Sophomore Lorenzo Washington (Logansville, Ga.) has started all seven 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.) has played the last three games as Washington’s backup after missing the first four games with a fractured ankle he suffered on Aug. 27.
He has five tackles and one TFL this season, including two tackles and one TFL in his Crimson Tide debut against FSU (Sept. 29).
True freshmen Josh Chapman (Hoover, Ala.) and Alfred McCullough (Athens, Ala.) have also seen action at nose guard.
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 seven games and is fourth on the team with 41 tackles. He has also added 6.5 TFLs, two sacks, three pressures, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception.
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.
He recorded his first career interception at Ole Miss on Oct. 13 and his 28-yard return set up the Tide’s game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter.
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 is second on the team with 42 tackles. He has added four TFLs, two pass breakups and one sack.
McClain had led UA in tackles in three of the first five 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 19 games, he has 110 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 six games this season and has 32 tackles. He has added three TFLs, one sack and one interception.
He matched his career-high seven tackles against Ole Miss (Oct. 14). He also had seven tackles in the season opener against Western Carolina.
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.
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 seven 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 36 career games for the Tide.
Fanney has played in six games and logged seven tackles this season, including five in the season opener against Western Carolina.
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 42 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 seven games this season, Castille has 38 tackles and leads UA with six pass breakups.
In his four-year career, Castille leads all UA defenders with 151 total tackles. He has added 30 pass breakups and 12 interceptions to also lead the Tide.
Castille has one interception in his last two games after going five games without a “pick” this season.
He 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 seven 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 six of the first seven games, but three of those starts came as a nickel back.
He has 35 tackles, one TFL and one forced fumble this season.
His best game of the season came at Ole Miss (Oct. 14), where he logged a career-high nine tackles and one PBU.
Jackson has 25 tackles in his last three games, including eight tackles against FSU (Sept. 29) and Houston (Oct. 6)
He had five tackles in his SEC debut at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8. Junior Lionel Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has started six of the first seven games of the Tide. He has started every game with the exception of the FSU game on Sept. 29.
Mitchell has 23 tackles in six games. He also has one interception and one pass break up.
He has recorded 50 tackles and four interceptions in 21 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 43rd against Tennessee.
In seven games, Carter has 30 tackles, including 1.5 TFLs. He had a career high six tackles against Arkansas on Sept. 15.
In 42 career games, Carter has 65 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 14 tackles this season, while Rogers had added nine stops.
Junior Rashad Johnson (Sulligent, Ala.) is the starter at free safety. He leads Alabama with 50 tackles and four interceptions through seven games.
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 91 tackles in 30 career games for the Tide. He has also added four forced fumbles, 4.5 TFLs and three interceptions and two PBUs.
Sophomore Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.) is Johnson’s backup. Arenas has seven tackles this season.