TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban doesn't typically gush about individual players. Likewise, he doesn't go through the usual song and dance of giving out game balls. Singling out anyone like that, he explained, would go against the objective of focusing on playing together and everyone doing his job.
Besides, picking out a star on Alabama's roster is nearly impossible. On defense alone, it's a constellation of future pros who comprise the nation's No. 1 scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and third-down defense. As a unit, it hasn't allowed a touchdown in more than a month, and quarterbacks have the lowest QBR against it in the country.
But as a matter of human nature, someone has to be the best. And he just so happens to be a 6-foot-3, 294-pound senior defensive end with seven sacks, a team-high 13 quarterback hurries and, for an added bonus, a pair of touchdowns. He's a finalist for the Nagurski, Bednarik and Hendricks awards, and if the Heisman Trophy wasn't slanted toward offensive skill players, he'd be on everyone's top list of nominees.