Alabama Football: Defensive Notebook

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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 Tide has used 15 different starters on defense this season.
  • Four defensive players -- Marcus Carter, Simeon Castille, Wallace Gilberry and  Rashad Johnson -- have started all 11 games.
  • Two of the top tacklers on defense are true freshmen. Defensive back Kareem Jackson is fourth with 57 tackles, while linebacker Rolando McClain ranks sixth with 55 stops.
  • Alabama is fifth in the SEC in rushing defense (124.9) and scoring defense (22.3), sixth in total defense (346.5) and ninth in pass defense (221.6).
  • The Tide has allowed only 38 points (19.0) and 497 yards (248.5) in its last two games.
  • The Tide run defense has held the opposition to 236 yards and 2.7 yards per attempt in the last two games.
  • Mississippi State (42-115) and UL Monroe (44-121) ran the ball 86 times for 236 yards.
  • Arkansas (53) and Georgia (40) are the only other teams to run 40 or more times in a game against Alabama this season.
  • Mississippi State (9-21, 100 yards) and ULM (14-24, 161 yards) have completed just 23 passes for 261 yards in the last two games.
  • Alabama has recorded 16 sacks in its last six games, compared to four sacks in the first five games.
  • UA opponents have been penalized 40 times for 351 yards in the last four games, an average of 10 penalties and 87.8 yards per game.
  • Mississippi State was penalized eight times for 75 yards on Nov. 10.
  • LSU was flagged 14 times for 130 yards on Nov. 3.  The 130 penalty yards were the most by an Alabama opponent since Southern Miss had 109 penalty yards on Oct. 10, 2005.
  • Tennessee was penalized 11 times for 81 yards in the 41-17 loss to Alabama. 
  • Alabama has had 16 first downs by penalty in its last four games, including six each against Tennessee and LSU.
  • 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 four of its 11 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.  Western Carolina (76), Vanderbilt (57), Florida State (82) and LSU (89) 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 Mississippi State to 215 yards of total offense on Nov. 10, its best defensive effort of the season.  The previous low was 232 yards by Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
  • 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.
  • The Crimson Tide defense shut out Tennessee in the second half on Oct. 20.
  • LSU passed for a season-high 388 yards against Alabama on Nov. 3.  Matt Flynn was 24 of 44 for 353 yards and three TDs in the win over the Tide.
  • Mississippi State completed only nine passes for 100 yards against Alabama on Nov. 10.  Both were season-bests by the Tide defense.
  • Alabama tallied 13 TFLs (-40 yards) in the loss to UL Monroe.  Gilberry had four (-12) and Knight added three (-8).
  • In addition, Mustin (14), Gilberry (10) and Hall (10) combined for 34 tackles in the UL Monroe games.

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 49th  career game for the Crimson Tide this Saturday against Auburn.
  • He is the Tide’s second-leading tackler this season with 69 stops.
  • He also leads UA with nine sacks, 12 quarterback pressures and 22 tackles for loss.
  • He has 17 TFLs in his last six games for the Tide.
  • He had 18 tackles, four sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in wins over Houston and Ole Miss. 
    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 had a career-high three sacks against No. 3 LSU, including back-to-back plays in the second quarter.
  • He had a season-high 10 tackles in the loss to ULM.
  • He added a career-high four quarterback pressures in the Tide’s win at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
  • In 48 career games, Gilberry has 177 tackles, 20.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss.  He has also added four five forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and three pass breakups.
  • Sophomore Brandon Deaderick (Elizabethtown, Ky.) starts at the other defensive end position. 
  • He has played in all 11 games and started the last six games. In 11 games, he has 21 tackles, including two sacks. 
  • Deaderick had a career-high five tackles in the ULM game on Nov. 17.
  • He recorded four tackles against Florida State (Sept. 29) and added two tackles, one sack (-7) and one pressure against Houston (Oct. 6).
  • Junior Bobby Greenwood (Prattville, Ala.) and redshirt freshman Milton Talbert (Hattiesburg, Miss.) have also seen action on the defensive line.
  • Greenwood has played 10 games this season and started the first five games before an injury.  He has played as backup the last four games.
  • He has 17 tackles, including four stops behind the line this season.
  • Greenwood has played 34 games and logged 59 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.
  • Redshirt freshman Brian Motley (Autaugaville, Ala.) made his first career start at nose tackle against UL Monroe on Nov. 17. 
  • Motley, who missed the first four games of the season with a fractured ankle he suffered on Aug. 27, has played the last seven games.
  • He has 10 tackles and two TFLs this season.
  • Motley had a season-high three tackles against UL Monroe. 
  • He had two tackles each against Florida State and Ole Miss.
  • Sophomore Lorenzo Washington (Logansville, Ga.) has started 10 of the 11 games at nose guard.  He has 31 tackles, three TFLs and two sacks this season. 
  • He had a career-high five tackles in the loss to LSU on Nov. 3.
  • He made his first career start against Western Carolina (Sept. 1) and first SEC start at Vanderbilt (Sept. 8).
  • True freshmen Josh Chapman (Hoover, Ala.) and Alfred McCullough (Athens, Ala.) have also seen limited 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 11 games and hasa 54 tackles, 10.5 TFLs and three sacks.
  • He began his career as a wide receiver before switching to defense in 2006. 
  • 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.
  • He added his second career interception at No. 3 LSU which led to a second-quarter field goal.
  • Knight had six tackles, including a career-high three TFLs (-8 yards) against UL Monroe on Nov. 17.
  • Williams has two tackles in six games this season.
  • True freshmen Rolando McClain (Decatur) and sophomore Prince Hall (Riverside, Calif.) share duties at the “mike” linebacker position.
  • Hall has started three games for the Tide in 2007, including back-to-back games against Mississippi State and UL Monroe.
  • He 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 10 games, he has 57 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.
  • He added 10 tackles in the loss to ULM.
  • In 23 games, he has 131 tackles, 11 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception.
  • McClain has played in all 11 games with seven starts and is making a name for himself around the SEC.
  • The true freshman has 54 tackles and has added 4.5 TFLs, two pass breakups and one sack.
  • McClain 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.
  • Seniors Darren Mustin (Brentwood, Tenn.), Demarcus Waldrop (Pinson) and Marcel Stamps (Brantley, Ala.) all man the “will” linebacker position. 
  • Mustin has started 10 games this season. He missed the Georgia game with an injury.
  • He is third on the team with 65 tackles.  He has added six TFLs, one sack and one interception.
  • He had a career-high 14 tackles in the loss to UL Monroe. 
  • He recorded eight tackles in the Tide’s 41-17 win over Tennessee on Oct. 20.
  • His only career interception came against Arkansas on Sept. 15 and set up an Alabama touchdown with a first-and-goal a the Arkansas 9-yard line.
  • He recorded his first career sack (-6) against Houston on Oct. 6.
  • Waldrop has played in 47 games and missed his first game at Alabama on Nov. 17 when he sat out against ULM with a groin injury.
  • Waldrop has 12 tackles and one forced fumble in 10 games. 
  • He had two tackles and recovered an on-side kick on the opening kickoff to earn Alabama Special Teams Player of the Game honors against Tennessee on Oct. 20.
  • In 47 games, he has 71 career tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two pass breakups and one pressure.
  • 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 30 tackles in 11 games.
  • He had a career-high 10 tackles in the win over Arkansas on Sept. 15.
  • Overall, Saunders has 55 tackles, 4 1/2 TFLs and two sacks in 40 career games for the Tide.
  • Fanney has played eight 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 46 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 11 games this season, Castille has 52 tackles.  He leads the team with nine pass breakups. 
  • In his four-year career, Castille has recorded 167 career tackles, 32 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.
  • Senior Eric Gray (Trinity, Ala.) and sophomore Marquis Johnson (Sarasota, Fla.) and  serve as  Castille’s backups. 
  • Gray has two tackles in nine games this season.
  • Johnson had four tackles, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery in seven  games this season. 
  • He missed four games while serving a University suspension for impermissible receipt of textbooks.  He was reinstated by the NCAA on Nov. 17 and is expected to see action this week against Auburn.
  • True freshman Kareem Jackson (Macon, Ga.) has taken over the starting duties at right cornerback.
  • Jackson has played 11 games and made 10 starts. 
  • He is the Tide’s fifth-leading tackler with 57 stops. He has also added four pass breakups, three interceptions, one forced fumble and one blocked kick.
  • He has three interceptions on the season,  including two against Tennessee on Oct. 20.
  • 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.
  • He added his third interception of the season (51-yard return) and one blocked field goal against No. 3 LSU.  His interception set up a touchdown that gave the Tide a 20-17 lead in the second quarter.
  • Jackson preserved that lead when he blocked Colt David’s field goal attempt on the last play of the first half.
  • Junior Lionel Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) has played in nine games, with seven starts.
  • 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 23 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 47th game against Auburn.
  • In 11 games, Carter has 45 tackles, including 1.5 TFLs. 
  • He had a career high six tackles against Arkansas on Sept. 15.
  • In 46 career games, Carter has 80 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 19 tackles in 11 games.
  • Rogers has nine tackles in seven games. 
  • He missed four games while serving a University suspension for impermissible receipt of textbooks.  He was reinstated by the NCAA on Nov. 17 and is expected to see action this week against Auburn.
  • Junior Rashad Johnson (Sulligent, Ala.) is the starter at free safety.  He leads Alabama with 76 tackles and six interceptions through 11 games. 
  • Johnson is the SEC co-leader and ranks fourth nationally with six interceptions this year.
  • He also leads the league and ranks sixth nationally with 0.55 interceptions per game.
  • Johnson has also added six pass breakups, five TFLs, one sack and one forced fumble.
  • He had a career-high nine tackles against Houston (Oct. 6), Ole Miss (Oct. 13) and LSU (Nov. 3).
  • Johnson added eight tackles against Western Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia.
  • He has 117 tackles in 34 career games for the Tide.  He has also added 6.5 TFLs, six interceptions, six pass breakups and four forced fumbles.
  • Sophomore Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.) is Johnson’s backup.  Arenas has played in all 11 games and has 20 tackles and one TFL.
  • He made his first career start as nickel back against No. 3 LSU and had a career-high four tackles and his first career TFL.
  • He suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss to ULM and his status for the Auburn is unknown at this time.

 

 

     
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