Josh Chapman Sees Much Good At Bama

Josh Chapman has spent a lot of time in a tough place at Alabama. The upcoming senior nose tackle was back-up to All-America Terrence Cody for a couple of years before taking over as the starter last year. His final spring practice is coming to an end with Saturday's A-Day Game.



Josh Chapman, a 6-1, 310-pounder from Hoover, isn't resting on any laurels.

"There ae still things I can improve," he said following Tuesday's practice. Alabama will work again Thursday, then have its spring game at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Chapman said he wants to be able to endure better and do a better job on pass rush, which has been a Nick Saban emphasis this spring.

"I want to get a little pressure in the pocket," Chapman said. "We've got two great ends in Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw. Those guys are going to make plays. I want to push that pocket and make the quarterback roll out to one or the other."

Chapman has been wearing an arm brace in practice but said it's "no biggie. Just a little sprain."

Alabama has had two scrimmage days at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In the first, the offense dominated. Chapman said in the second the defense "competed kind of better. The offense ran up a lot of yards on us in the first scrimmage, so we tried to come back and compete and get back to playing Alabama defensive football. We have a great defense, a chance at being something great."

He said said the team had improved in the spring. "The guys are picking up and trying to go at the right pace," he said. "I think we're ahead of the game, but we still have work to do. That's part of it."

Chapman said the defensive front has "guys who can help in all types of ways."

In competition at nose, Chapman said Nick Gentry has been a standout. "He's the best pass rusher we have as an interior lineman," Chapman said. "He doesn't get a lot of credit, but he pushes me and he pushes everybody else. He and I have been here the longest and he's one of the leaders on the defensive line."

Chapman thinks the next man in line will be Bama's next nose tackle. "Brandon Ivory impresses me," Chapman said. "He has a lot of potential. He's done some things I haven't seen him do in a long time. He kind of shocked me and I'm proud of him."

Chapman said Ivory had trimmed down to "310, 315, something like that. He has a goal to get down to 3-0-something. When he's 3-0-something, it's hard to move him."

Most of the curiosity about the defensive line centers on junior college newcomers Quinton Dial and Jesse Williams. Chapman gives a good report.

"They are doing great," he said. "Dial and Jesse like to learn. They learn faster than anyone I've ever seen. They get in the weight room. They do everything right. They do everything they are asked to do and they are coachable."

Chapman said any difficulties Dial and Williams have with technique are understandable coming out of junior college. But once they learn the Saban technique, they will be "kind of unstoppable. Jesse is one strong guy. I mean he is real strong. When he learns his technique, he is going to be hard to block.

"Coach (Saban) has been around a long time. You do it his way and you'll be successful with it."

Chapman and Williams line up side-by-side in goalline defense. "When he's down there, he gets a lot of push," Chapman said. "It makes my job easier knowing Jesse is right there.

"He can blow some stuff up."

Chapman said it doesn't come easy in practice.

"The offensive line is great," he said. "(Williams) Vlachos, (Chance) Warmack, (Alfred) McCullough, Barrett Jones, and (D.J.) Fluker--they are a great offensive line. I've played against some good ones. Vlachos and I have been going at it since high school. It's a battle every day. And Chance is one of the best guards I've ever been against. He works hard every day."

Chapman said one area in which he has been working this year is in keeping his weight down. He said he is "about 310" and wants to get to "3-0-something." He said nutritionist Amy Bragg has worked with him on portions. Chapman said he had given up some things, like hamburgers, but said that getting away from fried chicken has been hard. "I like chicken," he said.

There's one other thing he likes and doesn't want to give up.

He hasn't been on the losing side in three previous A-Day games. Winners eat steak, while losers get hot dogs.

Josh takes his medium well.

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