Defense makes the SEC what it is.
According to the AP, “Heading into last weekend, players from the SEC had made more NFL starts since 2000 than players from any major BCS conference. According to STATS LLC, SEC players had combined for 4,729 NFL defensive starts since 2000. The Big Ten was second with 3,540, followed by the ACC, Big 12, Pac-10 and Big East.
“SEC alum have also combined for more NFL sacks (1,045.5) and more interceptions (343) the past decade. Big Ten players combined for the second-most NFL sacks (778) during that span, but ranked fourth in interceptions. ACC players had combined for the second-most interceptions with 299.”
So, why such an emphasis on defense in the SEC? That answer is provided too. “If you’re going to win championships, you’ve got to be good everywhere, but ultimately it comes down to stopping people,” said LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis said. “It doesn’t matter how many points you can put on the board. If you can’t stop people and get the ball back for the offense, you can’t expect to win, particularly at the highest level.”
And why can SEC schools develop such potent defenses that win championships? “There’s a lot of good players in this league, period,” said Saban, who has been both a head and assistant coach in the NFL. “The high school football programs in the Southeast are really good. There’s a lot of players that develop. There’s a lot of good athletes. There’s a lot of speed. … All those things contribute to the kind of players that they look for at the next level.” Read more about importance of defense in the SEC in the story below.