Alabama Athletics
Alabama should be healthy on defense for the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama football: Will returning LBs help Crimson Tide stop Clemson’s run game?

The Sugar Bowl is still weeks away, but we’ll be tackling the best question from Alabama football fans each day. Look for our Alabama Question of the Day every Tuesday through Friday. 

Alabama football earned the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. It will be the Crimson Tide’s fourth appearance in the playoff’s four-year history. Alabama will face No. 1 Clemson on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal. No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia will meet in the Rose Bowl semifinal.

Will the returning starting linebackers really be able to give us a better ability to stop the run?

First, Clemson leads the ACC with 40 rushing touchdowns. The Tigers have amassed 2,653 rushing yards while averaging 205 yards per game and 4.87 yards per carry.

Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant may not be able to pass like Deshaun Watson, but he appears to be a better pure runner. Bryant has rushed for 11 touchdowns on the season.

Stopping the run and keeping Bryant in the pocket will be paramount for Alabama’s defense.

Getting linebackers Mack Wilson, Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis back completely healthy should certainly help Alabama’s run defense. Along with their ability to rush the passer, Miller and Lewis are both physical against the run and do a good job of setting the edge.

Wilson should provide depth, if not start, at an inside linebacker spot. He’s a physical player who’s also a playmaker on the defensive side.

Getting these guys backs healthy is huge for an Alabama defense that was reeling a bit at the end of the regular season.