Many Defensive Ends To Choose From

If you're only going to use three, they had better be good. Alabama's ostensible defense is a 3-4, meaning three defensive linemen and four linebackers. That it's not ordinarily a 3-4 is beside the point for this observation: if you are going to have only three up front, they need to be big and strong and fast, and you need more than just three of them.

In the Alabama 3-4 defense (when it is not a 3-3 Nickel or a 3-2-dime or a 4-4), the Crimson Tide will have a nose tackle and two defensive ends (often called "five technique" by a coach because the defensive end lines up on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle).

Although Alabama returns both starting defensive ends from the 2011 Crimson Tide national championship team, one of them—senior Jesse Williams--is expected to start spring football practice at nose guard (also known as zero technique). Redshirt freshman Wilson Love (6-3, 276) had been expected to compete at end, but he, too, is listed as a nose tackle for the start of spring drills. Some others we list as defensive ends could be moved to another position, such as a linebacker spot.

Bama spring practice is scheduled to begin Friday, the day before the start of spring break. Alabama will have 15 days of practice, including three scrimmage days, in March and April. The third and final scrimmage will be the public A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The second practice will be the day after spring break, Monday, March 19. The A-Day Game will begin at 2 p.m. CDT Saturday, April 14, and will be televised by CSS.

In addition to Williams, Alabama returns senior Damion Square (6-3, 285) as a starting defensive end. Square was Bama's leading tackler among defensive lineman last year as the Tide went 12-1 and won the national championship. Square was in on 32 tackles, made seven tackles behind the line, and had one sack. He also broke up a a pass and had three quarterback pressures.

Quinton Dial (6-6, 294) wasn't a starter last year, but he had plenty of game action in his first year out of junior college. The upcoming senior was in on 24 tackles (three behind the line) and had a sack and a quarterback pressure.

Junior Ed Stinson (6-4, 279) was a regular in the rotation last year and saw action in every game. He finished with 18 tackles, including five for lost yardage, and had a sack and a quarterback pressure. He also forced one fumble and recovered two opponent fumbles.

Chris Bonds (6-4, 269) and William Ming (6-3, 283) are juniors who have seen only limited action in their Alabama careers. Some speculate that Ming could move to linebacker.

True freshmen for Bama last year included Jeoffrey Pagan (6-4, 272), who saw limited playing time in six games in his first season and was in on four tackles, and LaMichael Fannings (6-7, 275), who was redshirted and got good reviews for his performance on the scout team.

This is one in a series looking as Alabama football positions prior to the start of spring football practice.

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