Alabama Football: Shoring up the defensive line for improvement

[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati
[Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati /

For the last few seasons, Alabama football fans have been concerned about the Tide’s lack of dominance from its defensive lines. That remains a concern for the 2023 season. If the Crimson Tide is less explosive on offense in 2023, as many expect, the defense must carry a heavier load.

Is the 2023 Alabama football defensive line up to the task? If it is, it will do so without Jamil Burroughs. After an off-field altercation when Burroughs purportedly struck a coach, the redshirt junior entered the Transfer Portal.

Burroughs was a 4-Star when he was recruited out of Georgia in the 2020 signing class. In three Crimson Tide seasons, Burroughs played in 20 games. His three tackles for a loss, with two sacks provided strong hints he could be a disruptive player by creating inside push. But his 15 total tackles over three seasons were far short of Burroughs realizing his potential.

After Burroughs’ exit, the Alabama Football defensive line is at a more than adequate number of 14 players. How eight to ten of the 14 perform in 2023 will be pivotal.

For seven seasons from 2011 through 2017, Alabama was No. 1 among SEC teams in average yards per rush allowed. In the five seasons since, the ranking dropped to No. 3, No. 7, No. 3, No. 2 and last season was at No. 4.

In the 12 seasons from 2011 through 2022, Crimson Tide defenses allowed 2.72 yards per rush or less six times. The 2016 season was the banner year when the stat was 2.01 yards. In the 2011, 2012 and 2015 seasons, the stat was 2.43 yards. Those are the seasons many Alabama football fans remember while fretting over diminished performance by Crimson Tide defenses.

On the opposite end for worst performance was the 2019 season, when the Crimson Tide allowed 3.82 yards. Last season was the second-worst in the 12-season period at 3.63 yards.

A common opinion is current college football offenses are too difficult to stop, for defensive stats from 5-10 seasons ago to be achievable. In contrast to that, Wisconsin was college football’s best against the run in 2021 at 1.99 yards. The Georgia Bulldogs were No. 2, at 2.56 yards in 2021, and No. 3, at 2.88 yards in 2022. In the 2022 season, Alabama’s 3.63 rushing yards allowed was No. 30 among FBS teams.

Alabama fans are correct to say the Tide’s run-stopping must be better in 2023.

More Snaps for Alabama Football Defensive Linemen

Which Crimson Tide player will gain the most snaps after Jamil Burrough’s exit remains to be seen. Alabama is expected to be led by Jaheim Oatis and Justin Eboigbe. In regular rotation should be Tim Smith, Jah-Marien Latham and Damon Payne Jr. Two players with a good chance to be sixth and seventh in the rotation are Monkell Goodwine and freshman, James Smith. If injuries push more guys into meaningful snaps, likely candidates are Isaiah Hastings and freshman, Jordan Renaud.

Next. Early Freshmen Impact. dark

The Alabama Crimson Tide defensive line will be fine without Jamil Burroughs. The question is, will it be outstanding?