April 5, 2007

Defensive front in search of answers

If you're wondering what kind of shape the Alabama defensive line is in these days, checkout the scout team offensive line reunion that is going on at nose tackle and defensive end during spring drills.

Back in December, offensive linemen Brian Motley and Taylor Pharr, along with walk-ons Joshua Curry and Layne Rinks, were helping prepare the Tide defense for a date with Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl. On Tuesday, all four were working on the defensive side of the ball. Throw in walk-on defensive end Stabler Gray -- who lined up at tight end a season ago -- and that makes five players who have made the switch.

Moves involving linemen typically go the other way. A fairly athletic defensive tackle can make for an agile pulling guard, but it's difficult to find an offensive lineman who moves well enough to be a factor at tackle or end.

Saban isn't banking on finding the next Claude Wroten or Marquis Hill while experimenting with personnel up front. At this point, he'd take serviceable where Motley and Pharr are concerned.

How did the defensive line reach this point? While injuries to tackles Lorenzo Washington and Byron Walton have slowed their development this spring, potholes along the recruiting trail have plenty to do with the current situation.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!