published Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Tide defensive ends crucial

By Michael Casagrande, sports@timesfreepress.com

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- At 6-foot-5 and 6-4 and both in the 300-pound range, Lorenzo Washington and Brandon Deaderick aren't easily lost in a crowd.

Put someone like noseguard Terrence Cody between them, though, and attention wanes.

Regardless of star power, the two Alabama defensive ends will be called upon Friday at Auburn to confront what coach Nick Saban calls the best running team they've seen all season.

As the bookends in the 3-4 defensive scheme, Washington and Deaderick certainly won't be caught in the headlights of the Iron Bowl rivalry. Both seniors, they have 51 starts between them.

"The defensive line has sort of continued to develop," Saban said. "We have some older experienced players and we have some young players that have played really well for us this year. Some guys have gotten opportunities and done a good job. We're pleased with that. I think it's going to be important in the game. You have to fit blocks and play physical on the line of scrimmage. This is a really good running team, and this is going to be a challenge for that group as well."

One of the second-stringers, sophomore Marcell Dareus, leads the Crimson Tide defensive line with 28 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

"I think we have one of the better D-lines around, just in my opinion," Deaderick said. "I think we play blocks well, we get after the quarterback, keeping linebackers free."

The ends no doubt benefit from the threat Cody presents in the middle. Auburn coach Gene Chizik said a double team is necessary against the 354-pounder. And even when the ends aren't making stops, occupying blockers free linebackers such as leading tackler Rolando McClain to roam freely in the backfield.

"In order for us to have success as a defense, everybody has to do their job, and the entire D-line is doing a good job," McClain said.

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