Depth chart guess: Defense

Injuries and other uncertainties make listing a definitive depth chart impossible. But based on Saturday's scrimmage and what we've seen so far, here's <I>BamaMag.com</I>'s best guess for defense.

Defensive Line

NOTE: Kindal Moorehead (recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his knee), Jarret Johnson (recovering from a sprained MCL) and Todd Bates (chronic problems with left and right side groin muscles) are all currently injured and did not play in Saturday's scrimmage. Therefore, we don't list them in the depth chart. If recovered, Moorehead (defensive end) and Johnson (left tackle) would be starters and Bates (defensive end) would be a primary backup.

First Second Third
Defensive End Antwan Odom Gerard Clark T.J. Shaddix
Left Tackle Anthony Bryant Derek Sanders Adam Campbell
Nose Tackle Kenny King Atlas Herrion Bart Raulston
Defensive End N. McKay-Loescher Jon Brunson JoLee Taylor

Bryant is running first string in Johnson's absence.

Should everyone return healthy in the fall, it will be interesting to see how the playing rotation works out at defensive end. Moorehead, Odom, McKay-Loescher and Bates are all equal to the task of starting in the SEC, but only two can be No. 1.

Bryant is more of a pure nose tackle, but he has been the main beneficiary of the extra playing reps in Johnson's absence.

Herrion can play either tackle or nose tackle equally well. Injuries and qualifying will likely determine whether he ends up on offense or defense in the fall.

Odom is improving every day.

Gerard Clark had an excellent scrimmage, prompting speculation that the 6-6, 250-pound physical specimen may be catching up to the speed of the college game--especially in light of the fact that he was nursing a badly sprained ankle at the time. But in fairness to the other D-End candidates, Clark accomplished his work against second- and third-teamers.

The coaches (and Antwan) commented that Odom has really started to come on at his defensive end position. He's significantly bulkier and stronger than he was in years past, but Odom has also just recently gained full confidence in his surgically repaired shoulder.

JoLee Taylor is more of a tackle than an end, but we moved him to fill out the depth chart.

Linebacker

NOTE: All-Everything junior college transfer Derrick Pope will not arrive on campus until the summer. Assuming he's half as good as his publicity, he will undoubtedly have an impact on the depth chart then. Plus, as well as he's played at middle linebacker, health and depth concerns regarding fullback could result in Marvin Brown moving back to offense. But our depth chart reflects what happened on the field Saturday.

First Second Third Fourth
Strongside Cornelius Wortham Jason Rawls Juke King
Middle Freddie Roach Marvin Brown Robert Allen King Gladney
Rover Brooks Daniels Mark Anderson P.J. Fletcher

Wortham is having a very good spring.

Frankly, because of the steady, day-in-and-day-out play from Cornelius Wortham and Brooks Daniels, neither gets the level of credit they probably deserve. But the twin junior starters are both having excellent springs and should be pillars or next year's defense.

The emergence of Jason Rawls from knee surgery and off-the-field problems has really helped solidify the current linebacker depth chart. Should his performance remain steady (and his knee sound), Alabama will be talented and deep at linebacker next season.

Rawls' emergence helps depth.

Super-frosh Freddie Roach has taken over the No. 1 spot at inside linebacker. He's big (6-3, 237), fast, smart and mean. And he's only going to get better. And if Brown stays eligible, the Tide will have the best one-two punch at ‘Mike' linebacker in the league.

Coach Torbush continues to be pleased with the progress of Anderson. He's got all the tools to be very good at Rover, especially the ability to blitz the passer.

Juke King running no better than third string tells you all you need to know about the talent level at linebacker.

Secondary

NOTE: Hirchel Bolden (shoulder surgery) is not taking part in spring practice, but the talented athlete would have to be considered a prime contender for one of the starting jobs at cornerback. And JUCO transfer David Scott (cornerback) will not arrive on campus until summer, when he will undoubtedly have an effect on the depth chart.

First Second Third Fourth
Cornerback Anthony Madison Roberto McBride Rafael Tyrus
Strong safety Waine Bacon Carlos Andrews Chris James Marc Miller
Free safety Charles Jones Roman Harper Hamid Haqq Eric Moore
Cornerback Gerald Dixon Charley Peprah Corey Ferguson

Jones has improved.

The triplet redshirt freshmen (Madison, Peprah and Harper) continue to impress everyone. Whether or not the current veterans can hold them off and retain their starting positions in the fall remains to be seen, but all three will start at some point in their Tide careers. And probably sooner rather than later.

Carlos Andrews had a very good scrimmage. If he continues to come on, Bama should be fine at strong safety.

Andrews had a good scrimmage.

With apologies to the freshmen, Charles Jones has probably been the biggest surprise of spring. Saturday he had seven tackles to lead the team (one for a loss) and recovered a fumble.

Hamid Haqq, a solid (and intelligent) walk-on, has been moved from corner to safety and got a lot of reps Saturday at his new position.

Peprah may well be the player of the future, but so far Dixon is holding him off.


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