Hubbard Expects Bama Greatness

Courtney Upshaw was one of the finest linebackers ever to play at Alabama, particularly in bowl games. He had a fumble recovery to wrap up the BCS National Championship Game against Texas at the Rose Bowl, was MVP of the Capital One Bowl in Bama's win over Michigan State, and was Defensive MVP in the Crimson Tide's BCS national title game over LSU at the Louisiana Superdome.

There are big Alabama defensive shoes to fill now that Courtney Upshaw has gone to the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL.

Before he left the Crimson Tide coaching staff of Nick Saban to become defensive coordinator at Tennessee, Sal Sunseri was coaching Bama's outside linebackers. A reasonable question was, "Who will replace Courtney Upshaw?"

Sunseri didn't hesitate. "I can't wait to see Adrian Hubbard play," said the coach. Now Sunseri will have to wait until Oct. 20 in Knoxville to see Hubbard live, and if all reports – including Sunseri's – are accurate, the Vols aren't going to be too happy with what they see.

Alabama, partisans, on the other hand should be pleased.

The Tide has both outside linebacker spots to fill, and there have been suggestions that Hubbard might end up either at the Jack linebacker spot vacated by Upshaw or the Sam linebacker position held last year by Jerrell Harris.

Last year, Hubbard was a second year freshman playing as a back-up to both Upshaw and Harris. The 6-6, 248-pounder from Norcross High in Lawrenceville, Ga., played in nine games and had nine tackles with a quarterback pressure. He was in on two tackles for loss.

He said playing behind Upshaw and Harris "was good. They are good competitors, and it's good to learn from a good competitor, to learn how you are supposed to play.

"The best thing was learning the system for both Sam and Jack so you can figure out how the system works. As a Sam (strongside linebacker) you've got the front side, and in the Jack the backside, and there are different coverages."

Hubbard, who was an outstanding defensive end prospect, was in a spring practice battle with Xzavier Dickson, Anthony Orr, and Ryan Anderson at Jack, and was competing with Jonathan Atchison and Josh Dickerson at Sam.

Hubbard said he was attracted to Alabama by the national championship tradition. He said being part of the team that won the 2011 national title "was a great honor. That's what you expect at Alabama: greatness. I felt this was the right place to come, the place to get the right foundation."

Hubbard and his teammates have been in Tuscaloosa all summer working out together. Beginning Friday the workouts add a new element: coaches. The Tide has its official reporting date Thursday and begins fall camp Friday.

Bama opens the season Sept. 1 in the Cowboys Classic at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, against Michigan.

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