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My name is Eric. My love of and loyalty to the University of Alabama football team is unparalleled and completely inappropriate. I hate all other teams, and wish them peril. Also, you can hear my music at www.reverbnation.com/EricBlackerby or www.youtube.com/EricBlackerbyMusic

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Fall Practice Pt.2 (The Defense)

Yesterday I talked about the offense, so today I will get into the defense and which young players I'm excited about stepping up and who I believe will contribute alot and be the next stars for us this year

But first I would like to take one more opportunity to brag about TJ Yeldon. Because Nick Saban pretty much did that today, all but saying right out that TJ had a shot to be No.2 behind Eddie Lacy. This isn't what Saban said, just my opinion, but I will go as far as to say Eddie Lacy better watch out. I love Eddie though, but I'm just really thrilled with stealing TJ away from Auburn. He would be the starter right away if he had gone to Auburn and I think he's gonna win a Heisman in a couple years

But anyway

Our defensive line returns one of my favorite players on the team, and I think one of the best in the country, Jesse Williams. For those not familiar with Jesse, he is Australian, is completely covered in tattoos, has a mohawk, and can bench press 600 lbs. If you don't believe me, google it. He DID it the other day and it is on film. Jesse played both End and Tackle last year so he's gonna be the man for us on the d-line this year. I personally dare anyone to think they are going to run up the middle against Alabama this year

It's not just Jesse. Damien Square, Quinton Dial, and Ed Stinson are all future NFL players as well. There is so much young talent waiting in the wings that you just know there are gonna be a few All Americans emerge over the next few years between DJ Pettway, Xzavier Dickson, LaMichael Fanning, Dalvin Tomlinson, Korren Kirvin, Darren Lake, and Dakota Ball. Someone said today that Lake looks like a senior physically. So much young talent, it's unfair really. All the guys I previously mentioned were 4 or 5 star highly sought after recruits. There HAS to be a couple of mega stars waiting to be the next Marcel Dareus or Jesse Williams

The more I think about it I'm just gonna sound like I'm in full out gump mode, but I've never thought more highly of a young defense coming into a season. I have absolutely ZERO concerns

But if I must point out a position where there are many holes to fill, it is at cornerback. DeMarcus Milliner is the only returning guy that really played much at that position and we need at least two other good ones to handle it. That's why Saban brought in TWO JUCO transfers in Deion Belue and Travell Dixon. Dixon was rated as the No. 1 JUCO player in the nation coming out and Belue has looked outstanding so far in practice and between those two, as well as John Fulton who has really progressed, I think we are just fine on the other side of the field opposite Milliner. Jabriel Washington is another young guy that could get some playing time this year. Hell, I think every corner on our roster will see the field at least this year

Linebackers. Oh man the Linebackers. Adrian Hubbard, CJ Mosley, Nico Johnson, Trey Depriest. ALL future 1st rounders. Hubbard is the next Courtney Upshaw, but 4 inches taller and more athletic. Depriest is a hell of a hard hitter. If you get past Williams somehow on a HB draw, you will regret it if Depriest isn't blocked. Nobody else in the country could lose two elite LB's like Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw...and be just as good the next year. But that is the case here. Depriest and Hubbard will make up for the two we lost, and Tana Patrick was practicing with the first team at OLB today and should fill in nicely for the departed Jerrell Harris. I think we have the best linebacking corp in the nation and with the recruits that Saban brings in every year, it will never ever change as long as he is around. Reggie Ragland, Tyler Hayes, Denzel Duvall, and Ryan Anderson are the future

The safety position is always gonna be strong with Saban. Losing Mark Barron sucks, but getting Robert Lester back is like recruiting the No.1 safety in the country who comes in and plays like an All American his freshman year. Lester is the best safety in the country. Vinnie Sunseri is one of my favorite players on the team. He wasn't as highly thought of coming out of high school, and he was a little on the small side. He was the son of our former linebacker coach Sal Sunseri, and most people thought that he just got a scholarship based on that.

And then he enrolled early and started busting heads in the spring game last year. He played alot as a true freshman and is clearly one of the smartest and hardest hitting players on the team. He is one of those guys that plays much bigger than he is and I'm really looking forward to seeing him this year as he becomes a big star. Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Landon Collins were both rated as the No.1 safety in the country coming out of high school in the last two recruiting classes, so my God, when are we ever gonna STOP having All American safeties? NEVER, as long as Lord Saban is in charge. Clinton-Dix will play alot this year, could actually rotate alot with Sunseri. Collins should play alot of special teams and will probably rotate in here and there as a freshman. He's too good to redshirt and waste a year. And I haven't even mentioned Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry, who could both start for half of the teams in the SEC, but will be backups for us this year

This defense, man. Last year's defense was the best in the history of Alabama football IMO, and this year's D won't match up to that statistically, but there is JUST as much talent and even more in the younger classes than there ever has been at one time. 2013 is gonna be really special on D, but this year's D should still be in the top 5 in the country, probably top 3. They don't have to be as good as last year to still be one of the best

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