The defensive line in a 3-4 defensive scheme is a thankless job. They have a huge responsibility and get the least amount of attention, but none of that matters to the Alabama boys.
When Nick Saban's defensive line does it right, they stop the run, and when Alabama stops the run the other team becomes one-dimensional.
And when a team becomes one-dimensional against the Tide, it is the kiss of death.
Alabama's defensive linemen have to be bigger, stronger and better than the typical defensive linemen in a 4-3 defense. That's a tough demand, and when they come through, the linebackers get all the credit.
Dont'a Hightower, though a great player, couldn't rack up 85 tackles without the defensive line funneling running backs into his face.
New defensive line coach Chris Rumph (from Clemson) did a stellar job in his first year with the Tide in 2011. They were the most dominant defensive line in the country despite their low sack number, and their top-ranked rush-defense speaks for itself.
Here's a preview of the next group to take the reins of Alabama's most unheralded squad with their future classes listed.
I'll give a few hints: There are some familiar faces; the projected starters are all seniors making for one of the most experienced defensive lines in the nation, and two of them were from junior colleges.