Little Less Cody Means Improvement

Big Terrence Cody isn't as big as he used to be. When the nose tackle committed to Alabama he weighed around 420 pounds, but has since dropped to 355 and become more quick and nimble. There are two reasons behind that rationale: one is he was and is on orders from Coach Nick Saban to control his weight. As if any other was needed, Cody knows the lighter he gets the more he will stay on the field.

"I feel I did all right, but I feel I can still get better," Alabama's Terrence Cody said following the A-Day scrimmage. "It was disappointing coming out on passing downs. I hate coming out when I'm already hyped up, getting in a groove, and making plays. It really disappoints me when I have to come out."

Cody caught the eyes of the crowd, his teammates and Tide fans with an open field tackle on running back Terry Grant in the A-Day Game. Cody ran down the quick Grant on the sweep.

"I'm trying to convince Coach Saban into putting me at Jack linebacker or defensive end," grinned the always jovial Cody. "I like making plays in open space. That makes me look good, if I make the play. That just helps me out."

One point Alabama Coach Nick Saban made following A-Day was that some people on the Tide defense aren't as good as they seem to think they are. Cody is not likely one Saban had in mind, but Cody got the point, nonetheless.

"We've got to come out with high tempo and energy and stuff," said Cody. "Coach Saban gets very disappointed when the ones that are supposed to be leaders, the ones that are good on defense, and the ones that are supposed to step up and make plays and have good tempo, don't."

It's likely with a new quarterback, running back, and retooled line on offense that the Tide defense will have to keep the team in games, especially early in the 2009 season. Cody feels that the stop troops will be up to that task.

"We've still got a long way to go," Cody said. "We've played good up front, but we can get even better, and have more success than we did (in the spring). From day one of spring practice, I knew we were going to have a good defense, because we have people that want to play, and want to make plays, and get out there and play hard."

As good a spring as the defense had, dominating the offense most scrimmages, Cody knows it can be better

"We're a good defense, when we execute right, and do what we're supposed to do," said the 6-foot-5, 255-pound rising senior, "but sometimes we have flaws and don't execute right. That's what practice is for. We'll just work on that, and get better."

At some positions on the defense, notably the secondary, there are some players who will have to play more than they did in 2008, and as the younger plays learn they make mistakes. Cody tries to mentor such guys.

"We've just got to keep a positive attitude," said Cody. "I just tell them, ‘Good job. Don't worry about that play. Worry about the next play.'"

Cody has had a little experience in Alabama's "Wild Elephant" formation on offense. He's a fullback-type blocker in special short yardage situations. But it's not from that perspective Cody had judged junior quarterback Greg McElroy. Cody has seen enough to know that there doesn't have to be an announcement by Nick Saban for the team to know who its quarterback is.

It's McElroy.

"He's done a lot of good," Cody noted, "after living in the shadow of J.P. (John Parker Wilson) the past few years. He's a good player. You put the ball in his hands, and he's going to control the clock and make plays and execute.

"He deserved that (co-MVP) award he got (at A-Day), because he makes some big plays."

Cody got an award, too. He was a player selected by the coaching staff for the Lee Roy Jordan Headhunter Award for his work during spring practice.

The man they call "Mount Cody" is projected as a first round pick in the 2010 NFL draft, and many were surprised he didn't make the leap following his first season in Tuscaloosa. Last year, Cody started all 12 games he was healthy for, and made 24 tackles. He was credited with 4.5 tackles for loss, half a sack, a forced fumble and one quarterback hurry.

Cody was a consensus first-team All-America and All-SEC performer.

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