TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — We’ll talk about the quarterbacks or coaching turnover or whatever else between now and August, but in the end, none of that will matter. The lone takeaway from Alabama football and its A-Day spring game is this: The Crimson Tide will once again field an elite defense.
Alabama has won a national championship or made it to the College Football Playoff with Greg McElroy, AJ McCarron, Blake Sims, Jake Coker, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. It’s the one school you can consistently say the quarterback position doesn’t matter as much as it does everywhere else.
In Tuscaloosa, defense is and forever will be at the forefront as long as Nick Saban roams the sidelines.
Alabama’s first-team offensive line couldn’t block the first-team defensive line, but luckily for the Crimson Tide, it likely won’t face a front seven that good or better all season.
How many offseasons have we spent talking about all of the turnover Alabama’s defense has to deal with to only watch it field a top-10 unit nearly every year under Saban?
Alabama lost its entire secondary, potential first-round draft picks at linebacker and defensive line, yet it will have a unit in 2018 that is just as fearsome as past groups.
Raekwon Davis looks like one of the best defensive linemen in the SEC and the entire country. Davis was named the most valuable lineman after racking up 8 tackles and 2 sacks.
When he’s locked in, Davis will be unblockable this season. He’s built like something opposing offensive coordinators will see in their nightmares.
Isaiah Buggs is back for his senior season, hungry to be a leader for the team and to build off a strong 2017. Quinnen Williams, whom Saban calls “Quinton,” appears ready to take over the role left by Da’Ron Payne inside. Williams had 6 tackles and 2 sacks on Saturday.
Looking at Alabama’s linebackers, if they can stay healthy, this group has the potential to be one of the fastest of Saban’s tenure.
Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis are both pass-rushing specialists who are also physical against the run. So to is Anfernee Jennings, who missed the spring with a knee injury. That trio alone should put up big sack numbers this season.
New year, new elite inside linebackers for Alabama football. Mack Wilson is a playmaker with a nose for the football. Teammates have noticed that Wilson has taken a step forward as a leader and signal caller for the defense.
If someone said Rashaan Evans was still on the field, it wouldn’t be surprising because Dylan Moses is built like him and possesses the same level of versatility.
If it wanted, Alabama could make Moses a full-time pass rusher and he’d thrive in that role. Moses had a game-high 10 tackles on Saturday.
Alabama’s secondary is completely retooled, and there’s a chance positions may not be completely set, but the talent and athleticism is there. The key will be avoiding those mental errors that can get young defensive backs beat.
Honestly though, it may not matter if the front seven plays to its potential.