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Three matchups for the defense

Previewing three matchups for the Alabama defense in the top-ranked Crimson Tide's upcoming meeting with Chattanooga.

Mosley will need a very strong finish to eclipse Wayne Davis' UA career tackles mark of 327 stops.

Alabama inside linebackers 32 CJ Mosley (6'2, 232, Sr.) and 33 Trey DePriest (6'2, 245, Jr.) vs. Chattanooga running back 21 Marquis Green (5'7, 175, Jr.) and quarterback 14 Jacob Huesman (6'1, 215, So.).

From the UA perspective: Not that it rates at the top of his priority list, but for Mosley the difference in the Crimson Tide winning the SEC West and finishing second could be the difference in the senior setting a new school mark for tackles in a career and coming up a few stops short.

With 290 stops to his credit, Mosley needs 38 tackles to eclipse the previous high set by Wayne Davis (1983-1986). Getting there would be a good bit easier with the extra game (SEC Championship) that comes with a division crown.

Essentially, three games instead of four would be the difference in needing to average nearly 13 tackles per game and 9.5 over the remainder of the season. Given that Mosley is averaging 7.9 tackles per game this season, claiming the all-time tackles lead won't be an easy task for the most active inside linebacker of the Nick Saban era at UA.

As for DePriest, the junior is coming off a solid, six-tackle performance against Mississippi State. In his last three games, DePriest has recorded 17 tackles, including 2.5 for loss.

From the Chattanooga perspective: Huesman leads the Mocs in carries (176) and rushing yards (894). His nine rushing touchdowns this season are tied for the team lead in that category.

With starting running back Keon Williams sidelined by an ankle injury for the last month, Green, who ranks third on the team in rushing with 282 yards, has spearheaded a trio of backs who have combined to help carry the rushing load.

Green is more of a perimeter threat, working the edges on speed sweeps and short passes. Meanwhile, true freshman Derrick Craine (5'11, 205) is better suited for between-the-tackles work. If Williams can't go this week, expect to see the duo split carries along with sophomore Kendrix Huitt (5'9, 195).

Who gets the nod?: With Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott sidelined for last week's game against UA, the Crimson Tide defense didn't see many designed quarterback runs.

That will likely change Saturday as Huesman, who was held to minus-two yards on 15 carries in his team's overtime loss at Samford last week, is the central figure in the Mocs' rushing attack. From option plays to quarterback leads, Huesman is a busy man.

While he isn't in the same ball park as Nick Marshall from a speed standpoint, conceptually, at least, a week spent preparing for what the Chattanooga offense does should have some carry over going into Auburn week.

The question for Chattanooga head coach Russ Huesman, who doubles as Jacob's father, is this: With the Mocs still in the FCS playoff picture, would it be wise to expose your starting quarterback to the kind of beating a 15-carry afternoon might bring about? Edge to UA.

Alabama cornerbacks 13 Deion Belue (5'11, 183, Sr.) and 5 Cyrus Jones (5'10, 196, So.) and safeties 20 Jarrick Williams (6'1, 210, Jr.) and 26 Landon Collins (6'0, 215, So.) vs. Chattanooga wide receivers 6 Terrell Robinson (6'3, 200, Jr.); 86 C.J. Board (6'2, 175, rFr.); and 24 Xavier Borishade (5'10, 170, rFr.) and tight end 88 Faysal Shafaat (6'5, 250, Jr.).

From the UA perspective: Through 10 games, Alabama's corners have combined to make four interceptions. While that may seem like a low number, it matches the 14-game output for the position from a season ago. Amazingly, Belue and Dee Milliner went the final nine games of the 2012 campaign without a pick.

Speaking of Belue (toe), it will be interesting to see what his status is come kickoff Saturday. Maurice Smith replaced the senior in the fourth quarter of the Mississippi State game, so don't be surprised if you see a lot of the true freshman against the Mocs.

Williams and Collins are both coming off player of the week performances against Mississippi State. With run-heavy spread offenses on tap the next two Saturdays, the duo's ability to provide a strong presence against the run out of the nickel package will come in handy.

From the Chattanooga perspective: Shafaat leads the Mocs in receptions (33), receiving yards (308) and touchdown receptions (six). He's similar to Ole Miss' Evan Ingram in that he'll line up at H back and wide receiver in addition to the traditional tight end spot. For that reason, UA coverage responsibilities for Shafaat will likely alternate between the linebacker, safety and corner spots depending on formation.

In addition to starting at the X receiver spot, Robinson serves as the backup to Huesman at quarterback. The junior ranks third on the team in receiving yards (263) and has completed all four of his pass attempts for 39 yards.

Who gets the nod?: A Chattanooga offense whose top two receivers are a tight end and a running back probably isn't going to be able to take advantage of the Crimson Tide's primary defensive weakness: corner play. Edge to UA.

Alabama nose tackles 99 Brandon Ivory (6'4, 310, Jr.) and 95 Darren Lake (6'3, 324, So.) and defensive ends 8 Jeoffrey Pagan (6'4, 290, Jr.) and 86 A'Shawn Robinson (6'4, 320, Fr.) vs. Chattanooga center 72 Patrick Sutton (6'1, 275, Jr.) and offensive guards 52 Kevin Revis (6'2, 280, Sr.) and 74 Synjen Herren (6'4, 315, So.).

From the UA perspective: In the preseason, I figured Robinson would provide depth as the fourth or fifth defensive end in the rotation. I didn't have him pegged as a three-time defensive player of the week selection.

Of course, I also thought Stinson and Pagan would have more than a combined 4.5 tackles for loss through 10 games. Not that those guys haven't done a solid job, because Mosley and DePriest's numbers to date have been what you would have hoped for. That goes back to the play of the guys up front, beginning with Ivory and Lake.

From the Chattanooga perspective: A former walk-on, Sutton has started every game of his collegiate career, a stretch that has covered 33 contests in all. He's flanked by Revis, a Tennessee transfer, and Herren, a duo that has combined to make 53 career starts at right and left guard, respectively.

Who gets the nod?: With the Crimson Tide holding a sizable edge in talent, this week will be about perfecting run fits against an offense that will present a similar look to the one UA will see at Auburn. Edge to UA.

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