Defensive End Feels Like Frosh

Bobby Greenwood expected to start

Bobby Greenwood has the feeling that he has been this way before. Alabama's 6-5, 260-pound junior defensive end is having to learn a new football system under new Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban.

"It's like starting over," said Bobby Greenwood just before his first Alabama scrimmage under Nick Saban. "We're all trying to pick it up. It's like coming in your freshman year."

Greenwood is an experienced Crimson Tide football player, something of a rare commodity on the defensive side. The Prattville native has seen extensive playing time at defensive end in his first two Bama seasons. He's projected as the starter at one of the end spots in the Tide's new 3-4 defensive alignment.

Greenwood appeared in every game in each of his first two Alabama seasons. He was first team All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team in 2005 as he hjad 15 tackles with five stops behind the line, three sacks, five quarterback pressures, and a pass break-up.

Last year he was in all 13 games, splitting time with Keith Saunders, who has moved to a new outside linebacker position this spring. Greenwood got his first career start last season against LSU and finished the year as the starter. He had 27 tackles, two and a half sacks, five tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries, and one forced fumble.

"We're working hard," Greenwood said. "We have to get in the playbook." He was holding a copy of that playbook, a five-inch thick binder.

"We're picking it up, but it's a complicated defense," Greenwood said. "I think we're doing pretty good."

Although Saban is the architect of the defense, it is in the hands of Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele. Greenwood got to know Steele a few years ago when Steele was at FSU and trying to recruit the Alabama 6A Lineman of the Year for the Seminoles. Greenwood said that although Steele coaches linebackers, the coach also works with defensive linemen.

"He comes over and works with us between drills," Greenwood said. "Coach Steele is very intense. He'll get in your face. He wants it done right."

Greenwood was looking forward to the Friday afternoon scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium. "We'll bring it to the field," Greenwood said. "Up to now we've had the coaches with us, but now they'll be on the sidelines and we'll have to do it in the middle of the field."

He said that even though there is a lot of study of the playbook, "You learn by reps on technique. The only way to get better is to go out and hit."

Although Greenwood is considered an almost-certain starter, he said, "I have to keep working hard every day. There's a lot of competition. I have guys right on my back."

Today's scrimmage is the eighth of 15 spring practice dates. Tide players will be off for the Easter weekend, returning to the practice field Tuesday.

Spring practice concludes with the A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, April 21.

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