Alabama's defense a brick wall

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

If Tennessee is going to have any chance of winning at Alabama today, the Vols will have to shorten the game, which means running the football.

They were able to have some success running it against Florida earlier this season, which is the reason Tennessee was able to hang around in that game.

Running the ball against Alabama, though, is a different story. The Crimson Tide are third nationally against the run and giving up just 63.2 yards per game. They haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 26 games.

So, obviously, Tennessee tailback Montario Hardesty, who's having a great senior season, has his work cut out today. The Vols simply can't put quarterback Jonathan Crompton in a lot of third-and-long situations, because that's when Alabama's defense dials up the pressure, comes after you from all sorts of different angles and carves you apart.