Coaching 'em up: Alabama

June, 27, 2011
6/27/11
10:47
AM ET
Over the next couple of weeks, we're going to highlight one assistant coach daily on all 12 SEC teams.

In this particular case, it's a coach who has his work cut out for the 2011 season. Maybe he's new to the scene, or maybe the position he's coaching will be extremely inexperienced in 2011. Then again, it could be that the position he's coaching holds the key to that team's success in 2011.

One way or the other, the spotlight will be on him and his players this coming season.

We'll start with Alabama.

Coach: Chris Rumph

Position: Defensive line

Experience: First season on Alabama's staff. Rumph spent the previous five seasons as the defensive ends coach at Clemson. He was hired to replace Bo Davis, who left to take a job on the Texas staff. Rumph also served stints on the Memphis and South Carolina State staffs.

Of note: Played his college football at South Carolina and was a linebacker for the Gamecocks from 1991-94. ... Among his star pupils at Clemson were Da'Quan Bowers and Phillip Merling. ... One of the top recruiters in the ACC over the past few years.

His challenge: Alabama's defense appears poised to return to the kind of dominant unit that paved the way for the Crimson Tide's run to the 2009 national championship. The linebacker corps is loaded with future NFL talent, and the talent and depth in the secondary isn't too far behind, especially with some of the younger players back there having had a chance to mature a year ago. With Marcell Dareus leaving early for the NFL, Alabama doesn't return a proven difference-maker up front. Senior nose guard Josh Chapman is solid, and junior end Damion Square has proven in the past that he can get after the passer. He should only be better in 2011 now that he's two years removed from a torn ACL. Generating a more consistent pass rush will be a priority for Alabama this coming season, and a big part of that will hinge on getting a better push from the defensive line. The departure of Dareus opens the door for some of Alabama's younger players to step up, guys like Darrington Sentimore and Ed Stinson. How quickly junior college newcomers Jesse Williams and Quinton Dial develop will also be critical to the Tide's success up front. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Williams has the size and physical tools to be a dominant nose guard. It's up to Rumph to help get him there.

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