Alabama Football: Crimson Tide All-Decade Team

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Alabama football
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 09: Linebacker Ryan Anderson (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Outside Linebacker (“Sam”-Ryan Anderson, “Jack”-Courtney Upshaw)

This feels like an Alabama football, pass rush of yore and, truthfully, guys like Terrell Lewis and Tim Williams were much more fleet-footed at OLB, but for pure muscle and attitude, if Ryan Anderson and Courtney Upshaw played on the same defense, quarterbacks might’ve pulled a Popke from Necessary Roughness and asked the ref to call each play dead.

Anderson is one of my all-time faves due to his seething hatred for the other team. It never mattered. If he’s lined up on the other side of the line of scrimmage, then he most likely hated you. He and Upshaw were the prototypes of what Saban has in mind for his 3-4 outside ‘backers. Upshaw was surprisingly nimble for a guy who sometimes played close to 280 lbs. His pick six against Florida in 2011 is a thing to behold.

Mainly, these were guys Saban knew could be trusted against the pass and the run. All told, Anderson had 39.5 career TFLs and 19 sacks. Upshaw had 36.5 career TFLs and 17.5 sacks. Not too shabby for a couple of big men.

Honorable Mention: “Sam”-Terrell Lewis, “Jack”-Tim Williams

Alabama football
ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 01: C.J. Mosley #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide makes an interception. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Inside Linebacker (“Mike”-C.J. Mosley, “Will”-Reuben Foster)

Thank God Rolando McClain was gone by 2009 because I couldn’t fathom choosing between him and the seemingly-bottomless trough of inside linebackers over the last decade. While I could think of at least two other guys who’d be just as legitimate, I think Mosley and Foster fit the bill for what Tide fans want out of the signal-caller and the enforcer.

When Foster was at his slimmest during his senior year in 2016, he was a perfect mechanism of destruction. That season, he totaled 115 tackles, 13 TFLs and five sacks on his way to a Butkus Award and unanimous All-American honors. Mosley won himself a Butkus in 2013 when he amassed 106 total tackles and nine TFLs and unanimous All-American honors. The previous season Mosley had 107 total tackles, eight TFLs and four sacks. And he technically wasn’t even a starter.

Mosley is arguably the smartest defender Saban’s had at Alabama and Foster is most likely the hardest hitting. I shudder to think what these two could do on the same field.

Honorable Mention: “Mike”-Dont’a Hightower, “Will”-Rashaan Evans