Moving Up

One of the big surprises of Alabama spring practice was Keith Saunders finishing ahead of Bobby Greenwood as the number one right tackle. Almost everyone expected Mark Anderson's old job to to go Greenwood, who had been the top back-up in 2005. Almost as surprising is that Saunders has continued to hold onto the job.

But Alabama junior Bobby Greenwood has probably moved back to about co-first team with Keith Saunders at right defensive end. Saunders had considerably more plays in the Crimson Tide's first five games, but in last week's game against Duke Greenwood was in for 28 snaps, only five fewer than Saunders.

"We're switching reps out and getting about equal in practice," Greenwood said after Alabama's Wednesday practice. "The competition has been real good for both of us. We push each other. I know I can't take a play off."

The defensive ends are expected to have their hands full this weekend when Alabama hosts Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m. CDT in Bryant-Denny Stadium in a game televised by CBS. Although the Rebels have only a 2-4 overall record compared to Bama's 4-2 mark, both teams are 1-2 in Southeastern Conference games.

Greenwood is very aware of Mississippi quarterback Brent Schaeffer. Schaeffer has completed only 45.1 per cent of his passes, 55 of 122, and has suffered eight interceptions. "We want to make him pass the ball," Greenwood said.

The reason Greenwood wants Schaeffer passing is "He is definitely quick. We know he's going to scramble. He's a good athlete."

Schaeffer is the Rebels' second-leading scorer. Although he has a modest 60 carries for 101 yards, he has gained over 200 yards. He has been sacked 16 times for losses of over 100 yards.

Greenwood said he is getting more playing time because of his practice work. "I try to make plays in practice and work hard on my technique," he said.

Alabama has only six sacks for 43 yards this year. Greenwood, even in restricted playing time, has two of them for 15 yards in losses. He said, "Sacks will take care of themselves if we concentrate on technique."

Greenwood, a 6-5, 265-pound sophomore from Prattville, has been in on seven tackles this year. He has also caused a fumble.

Last year as a freshman he was in on 15 tackles, five behind the line for 27 yards, plus three sacks for 22 yards and five quarterback pressures. He also had a pass break-up.

There have been changes in Alabama's defensive front this year. Bama has spent most of the season in a three-man front. Greenwood said that makes pass rushing a little tougher because an offensive guard who would be taken up with a defensive tackle is now able to kick out and help block the end.

When Alabama is in a four-man front, sometimes that second tackle is Greenwood. "I slip down to help with pass rush," he said. "It's something different, a change from being outside. But I have to be careful on technique there, keeping my pads level."


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