Aiming for all-star status

Defensive Ends Coach Paul Randolph believes both his starting players have all-star talent. Today he focuses on "The Chief."

Nautyn McKay-Loescher isn't as big as fellow starter Antwan Odom, but his motor runs constantly. Last season he started seven games, totaling 25 tackles, 4.5 sacks and an impressive 21 quarterback hurries.

Randolph talked about his senior starter. "Nautyn and Antwan are two different types of players. Nautyn has a great motor. He's plays extremely hard, extremely aggressive. Tackles and sacks are going to come because of his high motor."

McKay-Loescher (left) runs extremely well for a big man.

Both McKay-Loescher and Odom run very well---especially for linemen. When asked if there was a faster pair of ends around, McKay-Loescher replied, "Sure---in the NFL.

"But I don't think any pair in college are faster."

Randolph says this should be a big year for McKay-Loescher. "For Nautyn that next level is right there," Randolph said. "He's teetering on the edge of stardom. If he comes off summer break bigger, stronger and faster, he's got a chance to be an all-star."

McKay-Loescher's bout with mononucleosis last spring makes summer conditioning crucial. But he reports that he's completely healthy and back near his former playing weight.

A student of the game, one of the reasons McKay-Loescher chose Alabama was because of its great tradition. And he would like nothing more than to be remembered similarly to famous line duos like Copeland and Curry (John Copeland and Eric Curry).

"Both Antwan and Nautyn have been waiting for it to be their time," Randolph said. "They welcome it. Those two have the ability to reach that next level. They'll definitely work hard to continue the tradition of Alabama defense."

Dangerous rushing off the edge, McKay-Loescher totaled 4.5 sacks and 21 quarterback pressures last season.

It's rare for one team to place two defensive ends on an all-star team, but Bama has a chance.

"I'm looking for big plays out of both of them," Randolph said. "I'm looking for both of them to have great seasons. But what will truly determine if they're going to be All Americans or not is going to be our two inside guys."

As Randolph explained, if Bama's interior tackles can command double teams, then the potential havoc wreaked by Odom and McKay-Loescher off the end could be fun to watch.

He concluded, "If we reach that level of play out of all our starters, then we could end up with two, three or even four all star candidates."


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