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Alabama's defense looks to reload up front

It’s only natural that most eyes will be on the secondary when defending national champion Alabama opens spring practice on Friday.

The Crimson Tide lost seven defensive backs from last season’s team, including three starters, while another one, safety Robby Green, is in limbo for this coming season.

Green’s eligibility is in question, but Alabama is appealing and hopes the matter will be resolved.

Although there might not be as many holes to fill as the secondary, the defensive line will be another area that’s closely monitored this spring.

Starters Terrence Cody, Brandon Deaderick and Lorenzo Washington are all gone, but Alabama rotated its defensive linemen throughout the season a year ago.

Noseguard Josh Chapman and ends Marcell Dareus and Luther Davis have all played. Dareus is a budding star. He led the Crimson Tide in sacks last season and was the Defensive MVP of the BCS National Championship Game. He’s poised to become one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the SEC next season.

The Crimson Tide will also need Davis to take a big step, while sophomore Kerry Murphy has the kind of ability to be a breakout player at noseguard.

Alabama coach Nick Saban really liked Damion Square’s versatility last season. He was one of their more effective inside pass-rushers until he hurt his knee. He’ll be back next season, but could be limited this spring.

Junior college newcomer Brandon Lewis is on campus and will go through spring practice, and these next 15 practices will be especially important for redshirt freshmen Chris Bonds, William Ming, Brandon Moore and Darrington Sentimore.

The numbers are there. And while there might not be a space-eater like Cody on campus, if Murphy develops the way most think he will, the Crimson Tide will again be imposing up front defensively.