The true measure of worth for the players that line up on the interior of Alabama’s three-man defensive front cannot be identified looking at individual statistics.
Case in point, nose tackles Josh Chapman and Nick Gentry combined for 46 tackles, nine-and-a-half tackle tackles for loss and five-and-a-half sacks last season.
While those numbers are solid, they do not illustrate how both players were able to consistently control the line of scrimmage and enable the linebackers and defensive backs to play downhill.
Jesse Williams—who started all 13 games at defensive end last season—will slide over to nose tackle and give the Tide a powerful force that offenses will have their hands full dealing with.
But the real question becomes who will step up to provide depth behind him?
Sophomore Brandon Ivory and redshirt freshman Wilson Love both made progress in the spring, plus Saban will get his first look at four defensive line signees that could end up at defensive tackle.
In this latest look at individual segments on the Tide’s roster, the spotlight falls on the under-appreciated heroes of its stifling defense—the nose tackles.