Don’t look at me. I don’t have the answer to the question. I’m not sure anybody can say definitively, but the 2011 Alabama defense made its case in convincing style.
TUSCALOOSA — It’s not clear if Darwin Holt ever met Dre Kirkpatrick. They don’t exactly run in the same circles.
But get these two former Alabama football players in a room and expect quite a debate over ranking the best defenses in program history.
Holt is a proud member of the 1961 Alabama defense that set records en route to a national title.
Then 50 years later, an equally confident Kirkpatrick came along. The cornerback helped last season’s Crimson Tide to another crown with an unapologetically brutal defense.
Capping the ride with a 21-0 embarrassment of LSU’s offense in the BCS title game, Kirkpatrick never hesitated when ranking the 2011 defense.
“I feel like we are the greatest of all time,” he said leaning back in his Superdome locker. “That’s my personal thought, and I’m going to stick with it.”
Holt might disagree. Before the season, he stood by the numbers posted in Bear Bryant’s fourth year of coaching at Alabama. Opponents managed just 22 points that fall — three touchdowns and a field goal. The 10-3 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl was the closest anyone came to the Tide that fall.
“They talk about different teams defensively and how great they were, but nobody could meet some of the things we set,” Holt said. “We set the pole up there pretty high for everyone else.”
Adjusted for inflation and the spread offense, the 2011 team at least approached that high-water mark.
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