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I know a lot of national pundits are saying next years D will be suspect in ways similar to the 2010 D (which finished 5th in the nation but gave up too many big plays in key spots). I didnt agree w/ this so, since this is a slow day at the office, I did a little digging.
I went back to the 2008 season, when things really started humming for Saban at UA. I broke down each starter by position based on their year (fr, so, jr, sr) and years of prior starting experience leading into that specific year. After that, I tabulated players by class and added the total years of starting experience.
For the purposes of the study I did 5 DBs (2 S, 3 CB since UA runs so much nickel), 4 LBs and 3 DL.
Here's the breakdown, based on Wikipedia pages for each team along w/ other reference sources, to the best of my ability.
2008: 3 SR, 6 JR, 2 SO & 1 FR were regular starters. There were 5 returning regular starters with a combined total of 5+ yrs starting experience
2009: 8 SR, 2 JR, 2 SO & 0 FR regular starters. 8 returning starters with 12+ yrs starting experience
2010: 1 SR, 7 JR, 3 SO, 1 FR regular starters. 2 (or 3 if you include Nico/Dont'a splits) returning starters with approx 3+ yrs starting experience.
2011: 6 SR, 5 JR, 1 SO, 0 FR regular starters. 9 returning starters with 14+ yrs starting experience
2012 (projections) 4 SR, 6 JR, 2 SO, 0 FR regular starters. 5/6 returning starters (if you include CJ & Nico) with 9+ yrs starting experience
If you look at it that way, this upcoming season's squad has 4x the seniors 2010 had, more upperclassmen and zero freshmen expected to do any heavy lifting. This is especially evident in the DB area where you have a RS SR, SO, JR, JR & JR pegged as the Safeties and Corners respectively compared to SO, JR, SO, JR & FR in 2010.
I dont expect the 2012 team to be as good as the 2011 team (what Defense ever will be?), but I do expect it to be more mature and give up fewer big plays than 2010.
If it does those two things and avoids the big injuries (and the offense & ST stay the course) I see no reason why this team couldn't contend for all the marbles again.
This post was edited by bigtomrolltide 2 years ago
I do good work...
Nice breakdown. Thanks
Nice research, +1 for that. However, I think the DB area is a bit misleading, considering that at least one major contributor (most likely two) will be from the JUCO ranks. How much will two players with only a Spring's worth of experience in our system limit us? That is a question mark that could easily go either way.
"Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself." -Coach Bryant
Spring and Fall camps, for one.
And for another, if Belue or Dixon can't pick things up fast enough, I imagine Fulton will be our #2 CB.
I agree with that to an extent but I think when you have a 5th year senior at centerfield making the calls (R Lester) and a 2 yr starter at one of the corners (Milliner) combined with a bevy of 4 and 5 stars with experience (HCD, J Fulton, J Williams, N Perry) and two very good JUCO transfers to round out the unit I would say that is better than the 2010 unit which relied on two sophomores who'd never started (Lester & Dre), a FR (Dee Milliner) and a hobbled JUCO (Menzie w/ his ruptured tendon).
Plus 1 to you as well for the good question.
I've been thinking about this too and saying the same thing. The secondary in 2012 will be better than 2010 BY FAR and probably will not be the 2nd worst in the 2008-2012 Saban era (although there are too many unknowns to know for sure). The DL will be great and we are loaded at LB and have some experience there too.
There is only one way to lose as much talent as we are losing and still be a contender. We have a once or twice in a decade powerhouse.
I think D. Milliner will be the key to our sucess on D next year! Roll Tide
Appreciate the post. I had considered looking into this myself - thanks for saving me the effort!
Great breakdown. I have thought all along this D would remind me of the 08 which set things up for us but will have a little more natural ability.
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