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October 17, 2012

Stinson gets it done

TUSCALOOSA | Ed Stinson is the unassuming type.

He's not one to draw attention to himself when he makes a big play, and he's not on anyone's All-American or even All-Southeastern Conference team. But there is nothing unassuming about the way the University of Alabama's fourth-year junior has played this season. The Homestead, Fla., native has quietly developed into a key figure on the nation's No. 1-ranked defense.

"Ed does a really good job for us. He's a hard worker. He's kind of a blue-collar player, really plays hard," said UA coach Nick Saban. " ... He's gotten bigger, he's stronger, he plays the point well, he's got good explosion. He's instinctive."

Who leads Alabama in tackles for loss? It's not C.J. Mosley, or Damion Square. It's Stinson, with seven. Linebacker Adrian Hubbard leads the team in sacks with 3.5, but Stinson is right behind him with three of his own.

"Him leading the team in tackles for loss is not a surprise to me," said Square. "I'm pretty sure it's not a surprise to anybody in this building."

But that kind of production took time. Stinson arrived at Alabama at 240 pounds and was initially developed as a Jack linebacker. He's now closer to 280 as a 3-technique defensive end, a transition that he didn't immediately embrace. Stinson said Square helped him with the transition, as well as former UA defensive end Marcell Dareus, who went onto be a first-round NFL draft pick.

"I didn't know anything about the 3-technique, so I had to relearn some things," Stinson said. "I had always been an outside rusher before. It was hard at first, but I've gotten to where I like it."

Square said Stinson doesn't draw attention to himself in the locker room, either.

"Real quiet guy," said Square. "A guy that's about doing what he's supposed to do at the right time. You ask something of Ed, he's going to get it done and he's probably going to get it done better than anybody else could get it done."

On Saturday, Stinson will be charged with pressuring one of the SEC's top quarterbacks in Tyler Bray, who has been sacked only three times all season. And he'll be asked to do it against what Saban has called the best offensive line Alabama has faced all season.

"The big thing we try to do with Ed is (get him to) play with great initial quickness. When he does that, he's really hard to block," Saban said. "He's had a good year for us and I think it's because he executes. It will be really important that all of our guys up front play well this week."

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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