Kindal Moorehead explains, "There's a big difference between defensive end and tackle--a big difference. Do you want 500 pounds blocking you, or 750 to 800 pounds at once? Do you want a double team between a tight end and a tackle--or between a guard and a tackle?
"You'd better believe there is a big difference."
Having played both inside and out, Jarret Johnson provides a credible comparison. "When you're at defensive end, there are plays when you may not touch anybody. If the play goes in the opposite direction, they're not going to worry about you. They're just going to run the ball.
"But at defensive tackle, you've got to have your mind set. You're going to get pounded on every single play."
"At defensive tackle, you're in the middle," Moorehead added. "If they run the ball you can still get there, so (blockers) have to attend to you. But if they're running a sweep the opposite way, then they're not even going to touch me.
"But if you're at defensive tackle, then somebody has to put their hands on you every time."
"You've just got to be a man to play the inside," nose tackle (and former end) Kenny King added.
"Athletes play outside," Johnson said, pointing at Moorehead and laughing. "Men play inside."
All three seniors started their college careers at defensive end, but only the cat-quick Moorehead remains on the outside. "Kindal always says he's an athlete, but the real men play inside," King kidded. "I never understood when I played at end, but it's a different world down there. You've got bigger guys and they're coming at you.
"No matter what play it is, they've got to come through you."
One of the main reasons younger athletes prefer end to tackle involves recognition. Sacks, TFLs (tackles for loss) and quarterback pressures--defensive end is where the stats pile up.
But those that understand football know that a good D-Tackle is worth his weight in gold. Moorehead explained, "When a team can't run the ball against you, if you're on the inside then you're the reason. If a team gets only 50 yards rushing, then you know you're the reason. When they run the ball, that's where they want to run it. Straight up the gut.
"So when they can't run, defensive tackle is the reason.
Fans hear stories about the vicious infighting that can take place in the piles, following a gang tackle. "They blow it up more than it actually is, but there is plenty of stuff that goes on in the piles," Johnson related. "There's grabbing and pinching and stuff like that, but for the most part there is not. People talk like that happens every play, and it doesn't.
"Fumbles are when it's real bad. You do whatever you have to do to get the ball. And that goes for both sides."
King points out that just standing near a pile can be dangerous. "If it's a gang tackle and you're near, then you'd better be in on the tackle. Because for sure there will be an offensive lineman jumping over the top of the pile."
"What's the point?" Moorehead asked rhetorically. "The play is over. He's tackled. There are seven guys on top of him. He's tackled. When the referee is blowing the whistle, what's the point of hitting a guy?"
EDITOR'S NOTE: The August issue of ‘BAMA: Inside the Crimson Tide has Moorehead, King and Johnson on the cover. Inside the issue is a much more extensive conversation with the three senior starters.
Published ten months a year, a subscription to ‘BAMA Magazine is a "must have" for all true Crimson Tide fans.