Stuart McNair

Know Your Foe - Alabama Linebackers

Alabama’s “normal” defense is a 3-4, but the Crimson Tide is almost never in that look. For one thing, against pass-happy offenses, Bama will have a nickel back or even a dime package with six defensive backs. And even when the defense is regular, it’s no surprise to see an outside linebacker (or two) up on the line for a four- or five-man front.

The 3-4 has two outside linebackers, Jack and Sam (strongside), and two inside linebackers, Mike (middle) and Will (weakside).

In Nick Saban’s 10 years at Alabama, the Tide has had three winners of the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, including this year when unanimous All-America Reuben Foster took home the Butkus.

Foster is Alabama’s leading tackler (51 primary, 43 assists) with 12 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 8 quarterback pressures, and 2 passes broken up.

Foster will have new duties against Washington. Shaun Dion Hamilton, who started every game at middle linebacker, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game win over Florida. Hamilton, in addition to being a fine defender, made the defensive calls for Bama. That duty will fall to Foster.

Hamilton’s spot in the starting lineup will be taken by junior Rahsaan Evans, who has backed up at both Mike and Will this year. Evans has been in on 35 tackles with three sacks, six QB pressures, 1 pass breakup, and 1 fumble caused and 1 recovered. Interestingly, both Evans and Foster came to Alabama from Auburn High School, just a few minutes away from Auburn University.

Alabama’s outside linebackers are both excellent pass rushers and both have good size, Tim Williams (6-4, 252) at Jack and Ryan Anderson (6-2, 253) at Sam.

Williams has been in on 27 tackles, 16 of them behind the line of scrimmage, including 9 sacks. Anderson has been in on 51 tackles, 17 of them behind the line with 8 sacks. Last year both were primarily passing down players, but this year they play three downs.

Of Alabama’s 45 sacks this season, 26 have come from the linebackers.

Alabama Linebackers

Jack (outside)

Tim Williams (6-4, 252,Sr.)

Anfernee Jennings (6-3, 264, R-Fr.)

Terrell Hall (6-5,247, Fr.)

Strongside (outside)

Ryan Anderson (6-2, 253, Sr.)

Christian Miller (6-4, 230,So.)

Jamey Mosley (6-5, 228,So.)

Weakside (inside)

Reuben Foster (6-1, 228, Sr.)

Mack Wilson (6-2, 244, Fr.)

Middle (inside)

Rashaan Evans (6-3, 231, Jr.)

Keith Holcombe (6-4, 227, So.)

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