Alabama Football: Crimson Tide Defensive Notebook

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ALABAMA DEFENSE

  • The Tide ranks fifth in the SEC in rushing defense (131.38) and sixth in scoring defense (20.75).   
  • Alabama also ranks eighth in total defense (355.0) and ninth in pass defense (223.63). 
  • LSU (+1.38) and Alabama (+1.0) are first and second in the SEC in turnover margin. 
  • Alabama has recorded nine sacks in its last three 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. 
  • The Crimson Tide defense shutout Tennessee in the second half on Oct. 20. 

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 46th  career game for the Crimson Tide this Saturday against LSU.  He is the Tide’s third-leading tackler this season with 45 stops, including 19 in his last three games.  He also leads UA with four sacks, 10 quarterback pressures and 12 tackles for loss.  Gilberry had 18 tackles, four sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in wins over Houston and Ole Miss. In 45 career games, Gilberry has 153 tackles, 41 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.  He has also added four four forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and three pass breakups. 
  • 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 14 tackles, including four stops behind the line in seven games this year.  Greenwood missed the Houston game with an injury. Greenwood has played 31 games and logged 56 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 has 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 eight games and started the last three games against Houston, Ole Miss and Tennessee. In eight games, he has 14 tackles, including two sacks.  He recorded a season-high four tackles against Florida State (Sept. 29) and added two tackles, one sack (-7) and one pressure against Houston (Oct. 6). 
  • Sophomore Lorenzo Washington (Logansville, Ga.) has started all eight games at nose guard.  He has 21 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 four games as Washington’s backup after missing the first four games with a fractured ankle he suffered on Aug. 27.   He has six tackles and one TFL this season in those four games.  He had two tackles each against Florida State and Ole Miss. 
  • True freshmen Josh Chapman (Hoover, Ala.) and Alfred McCullough (Athens, Ala.) have also 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 all eight games and is tied for fifth 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 four 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 six games and is quickly making a name for himself around the SEC.  The true freshman is second on the team with 47 tackles. He has added 4.5 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. In seven games, he has 39 tackles, one interception and one pass breakup.  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 20 games, he has 116 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 seven games this season and has 40 tackles. He has added three TFLs, one sack and one interception.  He recorded a season-high eight tackles in the Tide’s 41-17 win over Tennessee on Oct. 20.  Mustin has recorded 15 tackles in his last two games against Ole Miss (7) and Tennessee (8).  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 45th  career game against Houston. He has 70 career tackles.  He has 11 tackles in eight games this year.  Waldrop had two tackles and recovered a on-side kick on the opening kickoff to earn Alabama Special Teams Player of the Game honors against Tennessee on Oct. 20. 
  • 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 26 tackles in eight games this season, including a season-high 10 tackles in the win over Arkansas.  Overall, Saunders has 51 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and two sacks in 37 career games for the Tide.  
  • Fanney has played in seven 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 43 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 eight games this season, Castille is fourth on the team with 42 tackles.  He leads the team with seven pass breakups. In his four-year career, Castille has recorded 155 career tackles to lead all UA defenders.  He has added 31 pass breakups and 12 interceptions to also lead the Tide.  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.  He did not play against Tennessee. 
  • 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 seven games for the Tide this season.  He is tied for fifth on the team with 41 tackles and ranks second with three pass breakups and two interceptions. He has 31 of his 41 tackles in the last four games.  He had eight tackles against Florida State (Sept. 29) and Houston (Oct. 6).  *Jackson turned in a season-high nine tackles in the win at Ole Miss on Oct. 13. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Tennessee on Oct. 20.  In the win over the Vols, Jackson had six tackles, two interceptions and two pass break ups. 
  • Junior Lionel Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has started seven games of the Tide.  He has 25 tackles in seven games. He also has one interception and one pass break up.  He has recorded 52 tackles and four interceptions in 22 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 44th against LSU.  In eight games, Carter has 34 tackles, including 1.5 TFLs.  He had a career high six tackles against Arkansas on Sept. 15.  In 43 career games, Carter has 69 tackles and 2.5 TFLs. 
  • Carter 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 55 tackles and four interceptions through eight games.He is tied for third in the SEC with 0.50 interceptions per game. Johnson has also added three pass breakups, two TFLs and one forced fumble.  He had a career-high nine tackles in the wins over Houston (Oct. 6) and Ole Miss (Oct. 13).  Johnson has also added eight tackles against Western Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia.  Johnson has 96 tackles in 31 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 nine tackles this season.