April 7, 2008

BOL notebook: Deaderick talks defense

Brandon Deaderick may have to be "the guy" this fall when it comes to Alabama's pass rush, and he knows it.

But the Crimson Tide's junior defensive end isn't putting pressure on himself to be the "next" Wallace Gilberry. Replacing an SEC-high 27 tackles for loss and 10 sacks - Gilberry's production as a senior last season - isn't easily done by a single player. But Deaderick believes with a team approach, UA's overall pass rush will be improved.

"I think people don't realize pass rushing is setting up a trap for the quarterback and everybody has to work together," said Deaderick. "If you just have one great pass rusher and you don't get a rush from the other side, the quarterback can just roll out or step up, so this spring we've been working on everybody working together."

Deaderick (6-4, 286 pounds) was a part-time player at the beginning of last season, but became a regular starter when Bobby Greenwood injured an ankle against Florida State. Deaderick subsequently made eight starts, and recorded two sacks to go with 22 tackles. This spring, Deaderick and Greenwood are playing opposite each other on the first defense.

But while Deaderick believes overall improvement will sustain a solid pass rush, he still has at least one Gilberry-like personal goal.

"It'd be nice to get at least 10 [sacks]," Deaderick said. "I'd like to get 10 sacks - that kind of shows you're up there in the top tier of defensive linemen ... but the sacks will come as long as everyone is doing their job. I'm not focused on a certain number - it'd be nice to get 10 or more, but I'm just out there trying to play my responsibility and help the team win."

Last year, Deaderick, Greenwood and starting noseguard Lorenzo Washington combined for six sacks.

As for the practice competition this spring, Deaderick said he is most often lined up against All-SEC tackle Andre Smith, but has had some limited action against right tackle Drew Davis who is trying to secure a starting role at a spot that was troubled last season.

"He's really improved. I think he's going to step up there and hold that spot down," Deaderick said. "Even last year when he was on scout team I was wondering why he wasn't playing. He's gotten a lot better on his pass blocking."

MOTLEY OUT FOR A-DAY - Lineman Brian Motley said he will not participate in the A-Day game on Saturday, even though he has been cleared for limited contact. With a broken left ring finger, he was moved from noseguard to center last week but has been in a black non-contact jersey in every practice since.

"It doesn't seem like I can overcome anything right now. This is my 3rd broken bone in 7 months, and three surgeries," Motley said.

If you've just eaten, you may want to skip over Motley's painful description of the injury: "I broke it clean off the knuckle. It got smashed between two helmets, it was just hanging down or whatever."

It remains to be seen if Motley will return to noseguard when fall camp opens this August, or if he will remain at center. He said he has a preference for defense, but can handle either role.

WASHINGTON GLAD TO BE HEALTHY - Noseguard Lorenzo Washington was shelved with an injury that kept him in a black non-contact jersey for the entirety of 2007 spring drills. So this spring, simply being able to play is something he doesn't take for granted.

"I'm enjoying every minute of being out there, not being hurt," Washington said.

In fact, Washington said missing spring drills last year put his conditioning far behind that of his teammates throughout the summer. This fall, he expects to be in significantly better shape when camp opens in August.

"I'd like to be 290, 300 by camp," said Washington, who is down to 275 pounds right now. "But it will be a different 290 this year than last year."

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