The Alabama defensive unit has been the bread and butter for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide's success throughout the last few season.

With many of last year's defensive talent currently in the NFL, that has forced the current defensive unit to become the alpha dogs on that side of the ball this season. But can this defensive unit replicate last season's success?

Phil Savage, Reese's Senior Bowl executive director and Crimson Tide color analyst, joined The Game with Ryan Fowler to discuss how this new defense will fair against last year.

"I think it would be very difficult for this defensive team in 2017 to replicate what last year's unit did with 11 non-offensive touchdowns," Savage said. "I think it would be unreasonable for people to expect this defensive unit to be able to mimic that from a year ago.

"It's not about the size of the talent or the speed, it's all about the experience and how fast this particular group of 11-15 players, can get on the field together, adjust together on the sideline, communicate all those thing out and actually put it into action on the field."

Savage also discussed wanting to see how quarterback Jalen Hurts used the off season at the Manning Passing Academy and working new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to become a more efficient passer in the upcoming season.

"Well I think last year they really played to Jalen's strengths which were his running ability and his ability take the top of the defense by throwing the ball over their head," Savage said. "Now it's Alabama task, the coaching staff to fill in the blanks."

"What I mean by that is for him become more proficient passer from the pocket, and [convert] those 3rd and 5, 3rd and 10 type calls, I think that's the next level step for Jalen. I'm very anxious to see what kind of progress he's made during the off season and through training camp, and actually seeing it applied to the game day on Saturday night against Florida State."

For more of Phil Savage's interview listen to the video above and purchase a copy of Savage's new book "4th and Goal Everyday" on Don't forget to catch The Game with Ryan Fowler weekday afternoon from 2-6 p.m.

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