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18 for 18: Will Alabama’s defense keep up the pressure under Tosh Lupoi?

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Alabama is set to take part in SEC Media Days on July 18, marking the unofficial start to the Crimson Tide’s 2018 season. Before head coach Nick Saban or any of the Alabama players take the podium at the College Football Hall of Fame, BamaInsider.com will pass the time counting down 18 important questions as the Crimson Tide looks to repeat as champions and claim an 18th national title this season.

Will Alabama’s defense keep up the pressure under Tosh Lupoi?

Depending on how you look at it, the numbers last year don’t tell the whole story. After leading the nation with 56 sacks in 2016 and 52 sacks in 2015, Alabama finished No. 13 with just 40 sacks last year. That’s largely due to the fact that top pass rushers such as Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller missed most of the season with injuries they sustained in the season-opener. It’s not because Alabama slowed its pursuit to the quarterback.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Alabama’s defense blitzed 40 percent of its plays, second to only Texas A&M among SEC teams. While the Crimson Tide’s defense took hit after hit at the linebacker position, it had one of the best secondaries, allowing former defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to take more risks while leaving his talented defensive backs exposed. This season, Alabama will be without its top six defensive backs as well as Pruitt, who departed north to Tennessee.

So does that mean Lupoi will be forced to show more caution in his first season in charge of the defense? Not likely.

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