Alabama is coming into 2009 with a strong and experienced defense from last year, returning nine starters, anchored by big man, Terrence "Mount" Cody, and led by the fiery young, outstanding, corner back and kick returner Javier Arenas, who's play on specials teams is sometimes so dazzling that we forget he plays on defense as well.
Defense is a unit that Alabama has depended on year-after-year, decade-after-decade, to get them through the tough times, and this upcoming season will be no different. It is a unit that was in the top ten last year and looks to challenge as the best in the land this upcoming season.
Alabama currently uses a 3-4 defense.
The defensive end position will lose Bobby Greenwood but is currently held by Lorenzo Washington, who will try to hold it against several incoming freshman this season. Playing opposite from him will be returning senior Brandon Deadrick, who will be returning as a starter barring any outstanding performances by those behind them.
Anchoring the nose-guard position will once again be fan favorite, Mount Cody, whose size and outstanding play has earned him recognition as one of the top defensive players in the country. This position is a solid one and will be an immovable object against offensive lines trying to gain some push.
The linebacker group returns all four starters from last year and is headed by Rolando McClain and Dont'a Hightower. The linebacker position is a deep one and will only be stronger this year with several incoming freshmen, most notably, five-star recruit Nico Johnson, who will get plenty of chances to see the playing field this fall.
The linebackers will be in the backfield early and often in games and will keep opposing quarterback on their backs or on the run and Alabama's defensive backfield very happy, as opposing quarterbacks will likely be making many mistakes.
Cornerback is a very solid position led by Javier Arenas, whose defensive prowess is often overlooked due to his incredible ability at the return game. Arenas will be teamed up with Kareem Jackson, another solid player on this tough defensive squad for Alabama.
The two will be looking to score touchdowns this season and should not disappoint. They will annoy wide receivers to no end and should shut down field.
Safety is a position that will feel the pain of graduation the most. The loss of Rashad Johnson to the NFL is a huge blow not only on the field, but also in the locker room. Johnson had a presence and the true grit of starting as a walk-on and finishing as a star. He was the epitome of the true Alabama player and will be missed.
However, Ali Sharief will be replacing Johnson and has drawn many comparisons to him by the coaches. He will be paired up with fellow senior Justin Woodall, who had an solid year last season and hopes to finish out his college career on a high note.
Out of all the positions on defense, this one is the most worrisome but is by no means a weak one, just not as strong as the rest.
Alabama's defense has a ton of experienced in addition to talent, and that makes for a deadly combination for opposing forces. There will be a lot of trouble when facing this squad and it shouldn't be a surprise if opponents find that the Crimson Tide defense scores more than their opponents offense.