Looking at two ridiculous defenses

Associated Press photo

If only they kept score with defense, this game would break the scoreboard. Here’s my story on the two defenses from Alabama and LSU you’ll see Saturday night:

TUSCALOOSA — The numbers give Alabama the edge.

Florida’s Trey Burton confirmed it.

Setting off a month-long debate, the Florida receiver said the Crimson Tide defense was “hands down, a lot better” than LSU’s after his Gators managed just a touchdown and field goal in back to back losses. Setting off an online battle of words, Burton’s bold statement will face the ultimate test at 7 p.m., Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama’s statistically top-ranked defense meets LSU’s No. 4 unit, in a sense, with an inside track to the BCS Championship Game on the line. The two run-heavy offenses will see an opposition built to take away the strength.

They’re same, but different. Sorta.

Alabama uses the 3-4 defense with an extra linebacker compared to the 4-3 used by the Tigers. A lineman replaces the fourth linebacker in that setup, but both stray from their base formations often. Linebackers are the strength of Alabama’s attack while rangy defensive backs are the cornerstone for Les Miles’ group.

Tide coach Nick Saban isn’t convinced the two are that different after the obvious formation variations.

“There are some similarities in terms of how they matchup personnel and I think philosophically in how they try to play the game even though it may be a different system of defense,” he said. “They’re gonna try to stop your runner, pressure and affect the quarterback, do a good job on third down and that’s why they’ve been successful because they’ve been able to do those things fairly well.”

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