January 7th will be a battle of the two best scoring defenses in the country. Notre Dame is the best scoring defense only allowing 10.3 points per game and Alabama is second giving up 10.7 points per game. The statistic that really jumps out at me is rushing yards per game, which Alabama is ranked number 1 (79.77 yards per game). Passing defense has to be their weakness right? Wrong, the Crimson Tide ranks 2nd in passing yards allowed (166.2 per game). Total defense again ranks Alabama number 1 only giving up 246 yards per game. Now statistics can be biased, since Alabama did play Western Carolina, Western Kentucky, and Florida Atlantic, but still they are the best total defense when it comes to yards allowed in the country. How will Notre Dame attack this defense? The game plan has to be similar to Texas A&M, since that was the only team to beat the Crimson Tide all year.
Alabama’s All-American linebacker that leads the team in tackles this year with 99 has been their leader all season long. As a Junior this is his first year in a starting role after playing in 10 games his sophomore year and 13 as a freshman. Adding 2 interceptions (returning one for a touchdown) and 4 sacks to his statistics isn’t too bad either, but it is not the stats he brings to the table, but his presence in the middle of the field. C.J. Mosley is the Manti Te’o of the Alabama defense. Mosley reads offenses very well and anticipates plays before they happen. When in pass coverage whether man or zone he is very aware what is happening all over the field. Lateral movement isn’t a problem for C.J. in fact it is strength of his. His ability to move side to side makes him good in coverage, while still keeping his eye on the quarterback. The only part of his game where he might be vulnerable is when he takes on an offensive lineman, but he tends to scrape off of those blocks most of the time.
Only a sophomore, but the second leading tackler with 56 and another all-around linebacker that can make you pay with one little mistake. There are many Alabama people that say DePriest is the most talented all-around defensive player they have at Alabama, which is very possible considering he is 6’2’’ 245 pounds and runs like a gazelle (4.6 40 yard dash). It is hard to believe that Alabama rotates 3 guys in the middle and they are all very good (Nico Johnson the other inside linebacker). The depth of talent is what scares most teams when facing Alabama. When in the 3-4 there are so many different linebacker combinations you can have and with that is why Alabama brings in the best linebacker for the situation.
It is said that he is the best defensive back prospect in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft and he is a junior and can come back for his senior season if he wishes to. Although he hasn’t decided his future yet, he is by far Alabama’s best defensive back and I would look for him to match up with Tyler Eifert when he is flexed out to flanker. Milliner doesn’t shy away from contact either; he is one of the hardest hitters on the team and is a cornerback. With the running game being the most consistent type of offense for Notre Dame it worries me how good Dee is in run support. His cover skills are great don’t get me wrong, but the Irish must pay attention to him when running the football as weird as it sounds.