Vols prep for menacing Alabama defense

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Tennessee squares off with some of the toughest defenses in college football week in and week out, but the third Saturday in October is always something special.

The 2012 season is a bit different. Alabama will bring to Knoxville one of the most stifling defenses in school history. The Tide lead the NCAA in every major defensive category. Yes, every category.

Nick Saban's squad is surrendering just 7.5 points per game through six weeks of play. Even more staggering is the dreadful 181 yards per game that opponents have managed, including just 55 yards rushing per contest.

"I know they are excited about this week," head coach Derek Dooley said of his offense. "We feel like we are pretty good on offense and they are the best defense in college football. I think all our guys are excited about seeing if we can go toe-to-toe with them."

Thus far no one has been able to go nose to nose with the Tide. As Dooley so eloquently put it Monday, "They've absolutely annihilated everybody they've played, physically and on the scoreboard."

This will undoubtedly be the Tennessee offensive line's toughest test thus far in 2012 as the Tide have sacked opposing quarterbacks 19 times, but one positive for Tennessee — the Vols have only let Tyler Bray taste the turf by way of opposing tacklers three times.

"What makes them so good is that they play down the line so well," offensive lineman Antonio Richardson said. "They are really hard to move off the line. Watching the film, I think a lot of lines I think a lot of offensive lines have had a hard time moving them off the ball more than anything. I think they thing for us is to be team takeoff."

Saban's squad lost players to the 2012 NFL draft, including five players selected in the top 35 picks and still the Tide have rolled over opponents this season by a combined score of 243-45.

"It's like I said, they change jersey numbers, not guys," Dooley said. "They sign the same guys every year, just different names. They draft, we recruit and they get the first 25 picks of the draft."

If you can pick out one positive for the Vols — Alabama has yet to play one team ranked in the new BCS Top 25 standings.

Watch as head coach Derek Dooley and select players talk about the Vols Week 6 game with newly announced BCS No. 1 Alabama:

Antonio Richardson

Ja'Wuan James

Devrin Young

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