The story that makes the rounds on the Internet and on talk radio is that Alabama doesn't have enough defensive linemen for 2005, and so this year's base defense will change from the longtime 4-3 (four defensive linemen and three linebackers) to a 3-4 (three defensive linemen and four linebackers) or a 3-3 (three defensive linemen, three linebackers, and five defensive backs).
It's true that Bama has depth problems at a number of positions, the result of NCAA scholarship cuts that continue to affect Crimson Tide football.
But Jeremy Clark, who will be starting for the third year this season, begs to differ regarding depth at defensive tackle.
"I think we have enough tackles," said the 6-3, 305-pound junior. "Everyone is capable of playing."
Those tackles include Clark and fellow returning starter senior Rudy Griffin (6-0, 286), as well as back-ups Justin Britt (6-4, 285, sophomore), Dominie Lee (6-2, 283, junior), and J.P. Adams (6-3, 267, junior).
And that's not including some newcomers. "I've been watching some of the new ones," he said. "Byron Walton, Lorenzo Washington, Brandon Fanney, and Brandon Deaderick have all impressed me. I don't know if they'll all be tackles, but they are all in good shape and working hard. I'm anxious to see what they bring to the table."
Clark, who has picked up about 10 pounds since last season, said, "I think our base defense will stay the 4-3. But whatever Coach Kines (Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines) draws up, I'll be glad to play it. I'll have fun whatever he puts us in."
Fun is the reason Clark plays football. "You have fun, but you work hard," he said. "That's why I've been here all summer. I've worked hard every day. That's a constant."
Clark has a good feeling about the upcoming season. "I'm looking forward to it," he said. "Everyone seems to understand the system a little more."
Beginning last fall and continuing through the spring and into summer off-season workouts, Clark has been going against young Alabama linemen. Summer work has been without gear, "full speed hands work" in which offensive and defensive linemen work on techniques against one another.
Clark said, "I have been impressed with (redshirt freshman offensive guard) Antoine Caldwell.
Clark, who is from Daphne, started seven games as a redshirt freshman in 2003, then started all 12 games as a sophomore last year.