4. College Football News Preview 2020: Alabama Crimson Tide Defense 3 Things To Know
– The pressure is on defensive coordinator Pete Golding to come up with something special. Yes, Alabama underwent a youth movement in several spots. Yes, injuries were a problem, and yes, the combination of both things led to a whole slew of inconsistencies, especially in the linebacking corps.
For most programs, finishing 20th in the nation in total defense and 13th in scoring D would be fine. At Alabama, last year was a relative disaster.
It doesn’t help that five players were drafted, but a whole lot of problems might be solved with two key returning parts to the linebacking corps.
2018 leading tackler Dylan Moses is back after suffering a torn ACL, and 6-3, 237-pound Joshua McMillon’s return from his own knee injury is a big help.
Freshmen Shane Lee and Christian Harris finished second and fourth on the team in tackles, respectively. They’re now good veterans to work in with Moses and McMillon on the inside, and the outside should be interesting with national super-recruits Demouy Kennedy, Chris Braswell, and Drew Sanders likely to be thrown to the wolves right away.
– The line loses Raekwon Davis to the Miami Dolphins – that’s about it. 6-3, 308-pound sophomore DJ Dale will once again be the guy who does most of the dirty work on the nose.
The threesome of sophomore Byron Young, the versatile 6-5, 310-pound Christian Barmore – he’ll fit in anywhere and produce – and junior LaBryan Ray, who’s back after missing most of last year with a foot injury, will be outstanding on the ends. As always, there’s next-level talent in the recruiting class to work into the rotation at all three spots.
– The pass defense and the secondary were much, much better than they got credit for. Everyone saw the LSU game, but that was an aberration – this group came up with a whole lot of big plays. Now it’s going to take some work to be nearly as strong.
S Xavier McKinney is gone to the New York Giants, and CB Trevon Diggs is now a Dallas Cowboy, and Shyheim Carter and Jared Mayden are done, but Patrick Surtain is the one the next-level guys really want. The big corner will be the star of the secondary – and he’ll be avoided at all costs.
Expect an open competition for the other corner gig – junior Josh Jobe is the veteran, but he’ll be pushed – but that’s nothing compared to the fight for safety spots.
New recruits Brian Branch and Malachi Moore were good gets, but they’re not quite the superstar of superstar recruits who can step in right away and rock. Sophomore Jordan Battle counts as a veteran now after making 30 stops in his first season.