Jan 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban hoists the coaches trophy after the 2012 BCS National Championship game against the LSU Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

Michigan Football: Coach's Corner -- Alabama Defense -- The Basics

Posted at 12:00pm — 8/18/2012

Michigan Football: Coach’s Corner — Alabama Defense — The Basics

This is real basic, that is, the description of Alabama’s defense. Alabama’s defense is one of the most complex and complicated systems GBMWolverine have ever seen. Coach Kirby Smart, Bama’s defensive coordinator, is one smart guy. He was an all-academic at Georgia.

Bama plays a base 3-4, but will employ both under and over alignments in different situations. The primary difference is which way the assignment kicks or stems the defensive front and linebackers.

Bama employs big, strong defensive linemen like Terrence Cody to tie up offensive linemen and allow linebackers to roam and make plays. The Bama linebackers are among the leading tacklers every season for good reason.

The star of the defense is usually the “Jack” linebacker. He goes to the quick or weak-side of the formation. The Jack can drop into coverage or put a hand on the ground and rush the passer. NFL minded guys should think James Harrison of the Steelers.

The secondary employs a ton of different coverages and Bama uses many different blitz packages. My favorite blitz is what Bama calls plus one. The defense actually brings one more blitzer/pass rusher than the offense has blockers. And it can be any defender that provides the extra pass rush.

In coverage Bama plays a zone blitz package as the base, but uses too many coverages for me to list. One that merits mention however is how Bama uses combination coverages. That is, the Tide will play zone on one side and man on the other, or even play different zone coverages on opposite sides. Say, for example, cover two into the field (wide) and cover three into the boundary.
We have so much Coach Saban stuff from past seasons it is scary. Of importance is he changes, adjusts his schemes better than anybody in college football. He also coaches extremely well. Mark Dantonio learned his defense from Coach Saban for instance.

Michigan, and every other team that plays Alabama, will have a significant challenge moving the ball against this combination of talent, speed, and scheme.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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