What's in a name?
Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart shared a secret to the defense.
The Crimson Tide is known as a 3-4 team with three down linemen and big, versatile linebackers, but that label is partly about recruiting the type of players Alabama wants. Coach Nick Saban has said ‘Bama only lines up with a three-man front about 20 percent of the time.
So why stick with the label?
“We’re not in 3-4 as much as people think, but that’s what we recruit to,” Smart said. “We do that for a lot of reasons: It gives you ability to recruit more linebackers, more skilled players. We have to line up in both. In today’s day and age, offenses force you to.”
He said it also allows the Tide to have outside linebackers big enough to grow into defensive linemen, where they often line up.
“It’s more about that, and we still think it’s the best defense to be in for two-back offenses,” Smart said.
He pointed to NFL teams like the Texans, the Ravens and the Patriots who are 3-4 teams that play both.
Alabama has six linebackers as starters or second-teamers that are listed as 243-plus pounds, including the 6-foot-3, 262-pound Xzavier Dickson.
Two similarly huge linebackers — Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw — were among the NFL’s top 35 draft picks last year.
Yes, some tickets are still available to the Notre Dame-Alabama matchup that will decide the national championship on Monday night.
Available to the deep-pocketed, that is.
As of Friday afternoon, about 3,000 tickets to the BCS title game were available for purchase on the online site StubHub. None were cheaper than $899.
And that’s in the upper deck of Sun Life Stadium — in the 30th row of the upper deck, to be precise. Nothing in the lower bowl was available for less than $1,000 per seat.
Want four seats, together, in the corner of the lower bowl? They can be yours for the low, low price of $40,000 (plus $15 processing, of course). And according to some South Florida tourism experts, more than 50,000 Notre Dame and Alabama fans will be in the South Florida area this weekend — just for the experience of being near the game, and with no chance of getting tickets.
“They’ve been traveling with us all year,” Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin said. “It’s crazy to see.”