The defense is probably the number one reason why the Tide will succeed this year.
With nine returning starters from an already dominant defense, no one will be putting up many points on the Tide. Alabama has many great defenders but I'll just touch on the playmakers at each phase of the defense.
The D-line should shut down runs and cause inexperienced opposing quarterbacks to get happy feet. Anchoring the line will be the monster, Terrence Cody.
As I and many Tide fans know, his stats will never do his effect on opposing offenses justice. Not many defensive tackles have to be double teamed, especially in a 3-4 scheme. Cody clogs the middle and causes offensive coordinators to gameplan around him.
Like running up the gut? Not on this guy. While he shuts down the middle, the supporting cast get the tackles.
One of the guys getting the tackles is Rolando McClain. McClain benefits from his immense understanding of offensive schemes. He is the guy that calls the defensive audibles on the field and rightly so.
His football IQ and dedication to watching countless hours of game film makes him the most valuable asset on this stacked defense.
With 95 tackles, 12 for a loss, 1 pick, and 2 fumbles recovered last year as a sophomore, expect ridiculous stats now that he has matured into his junior year. He has become the defensive leader that you would expect from a seasoned senior.
Last year's secondary was possibly the weak point in the defense. With the passion that Javier Arenas displays on and off the field, don't count on that trend continuing this year.
Arenas was just a specialist to start with, but moving him to the secondary was a pivotal decision. With 63 tackles, 2 sacks, and a pick for a touchdown last year, expect him to reach his prime as a senior defender.
Not only is he a great DB, but he is a great asset in run support. Add to that his return ability and you have one of the most explosive players on the field.
Add to that the results of last year's recruiting class, namely Dre Kirkpatrick, and the secondary should be much improved.
These are just three guys expected to make a giant impact. Add to this the rest of the supporting cast including phenom Dont'a Hightower and you have a recipe for offensive coordinator nightmares.