August 4, 2006

Time to shine

Despite being a part of a unit that has ranked among college football's top two defenses in each of the last two seasons, Alabama's defensive line has toiled in anonymity. While the Crimson Tide's back seven soaked up most of the media attention, the front four didn't have nearly as many interview requests to tend to.

A lot of that had to do with star power, something UA's secondary and linebackers had in spades. But with five starters gone from those two areas, it might be a good time for the defensive line to step into the spotlight.

Three years into Joe Kines' second stint as coordinator, Alabama's defense has developed a reputation for being quick to the football and assignment sound. For the most part, the tackles have occupied blockers while the linebackers and safeties have made a vast majority of the tackles. To wit: Jeremy Clark's 18 stops were good enough to lead all Tide tackles in that category a season ago.

Still, it's not as if the defensive staff doesn't want more production from the inside players. Over the last three years, defensive line coach Buddy Wyatt has expressed a strong desire for the tackles to become more active. So far, he's gotten it only in spots.

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