This is a familiar story with a different plot. Alabama has to reload its defensive secondary, but not quite like it did two years ago. Read all about it in today’s print story …
TUSCALOOSA — The makeover in the Alabama secondary isn’t quite as extreme as the last one.
This one won’t start from scratch like the 2010 overhaul required. A pair of two-year starters returns from a group that could have two first-round NFL Draft picks.
Also back are a few key reserves who saw action in the 2011 national title run. There were no such luxuries two seasons ago. Graduation and the NFL decimated the last championship-winning defensive backfield.
That forced true freshmen like cornerback Dee Milliner straight into the fire. He started 11 games that fall after learning the defense in spring practice. Now he joins safety Robert Lester as the veterans of an evolving group that includes a few former top prospects who had the luxury Milliner never experienced.
“That’s a very important aspect when you’ve got the backups out there ’cause they’ve been out there before,” Milliner said. “They learned from the great backs that’s in front of them. They taught them things and they can teach other people, because they were out there in the situation that was behind those great leaders that we had.”
Milliner went from high school senior to Alabama starter in a matter of months in 2010. He enrolled early and ingested as much of the Tide’s famously complicated playbook.
A few program newcomers are competing for the other cornerback position, but they at least have some college football experience. Junior college transfers Deion Belue and Travell Dixon are making progress, coach Nick Saban said, in the battle to replace Dre Kirkpatrick and DeQuan Menzie.
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