Tide's Chapman Is Mr. Dependable

In some respects, Josh Chapman couldn't replace Terrance Cody. When Chapman was a sophomore backing up the charismatic Cody, an All-America who is now playing in the NFL, Chapman said, "Even my grandmother is a Cody fan."

But Josh Chapman has been Mr. Dependable at nose tackle for the Alabama football team. He moved into the spot last year following two years of the Terrance Cody phenomenon years and was a solid performance on the defensive line.

Chapman doesn't have the size of a Cody, who was 6-5 and who said his weight was "about 338," and who was really in the 350 range. But Chapman, 6-1 and 310, is one of the strongest players in Crimson Tide history.

He started 12 games last year and played in all 13, turning in a respectable 31 tackles, including being in on four tackles for loss and also having a sack.

An upcoming senior who has played in 42 Bama games, Chapman is also one of the leaders of the defense. A nose tackle has tough duty, almost always having to take on the block of both the center and a guard, leaving the tackle statistics to the men behind him and on the edges.

When Bama signed Jesse Williams, more in the mold of Cody and a man who has impressed Chapman with his strength and work ethic, many expected Williams to take over the spot. That may happen yet, but in the spring Chapman held on to his first team status.

The man who sees Chapman up close and personal in practice each day is Alabama senior center William Vlachos, who has great respect for Chapman. The two have been going at it since high school days when Vlachos was at Mountain Brook and Chapman at Hoover, both Birmingham suburbs.

The respect is mutual.

"Vlachos is one of those guys who will compete all day long," Chapman said. "He feels he can't be beat and he's going to work every day -- day-in and day-out. Our one-on-one battles are just like -- I mean we go at it like there isn't no other. It's like a ball game. We don't like to lose against each other. Every day we say we're better than the other. In the weight room to off the field." He's like my brother from another mother."

Chapman said there is a "little" trash talk between the two on the practice field, but that's where they leave it.

"He's like my brother from another mother," Chapman said.

Chapman said those battles go back to high school track and field meets. "We went at it then," Chapman said. "He used to beat me in shot (put), but he couldn't get me in discus. We were always competing at something."

Those battles will continue when Bama returns to the practice field in late summer with fall camp.

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