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Bama's rebuilt D facing huge tests

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - No. 1 Alabama's defense is facing huge tests the next three weeks.

The Crimson Tide's rebuilt defense has been formidable so far. Now, coach Nick Saban and company get to see how it stacks up against No. 10 Arkansas and quarterback Ryan Mallett. Then come Urban Meyer and No. 9 Florida followed by Steve Spurrier's 12th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.

Even with nine new starters, the Tide has allowed one touchdown and 19 points in its first three games. That's the fewest to start a season for Alabama since the 1979 unit surrendered just nine points through three games.

Alabama ranks second nationally in pass efficiency defense and second in scoring. Among those first three opponents, only Duke is ranked among the top 70 nationally in either passing, total or scoring offense.

TUESDAY PRACTICE 

The Alabama football team practiced for approximately two hours in full pads Tuesday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields in preparation for Saturday's matchup against Arkansas.

"Practice has gone fairly well," sophomore linebacker Dont'a Hightower said. "Guys have been battling the heat and everybody is trying to get in better conditioning. Everyone is trying to anticipate that Arkansas might try to high-tempo us. We're working on that and trying to be one step ahead."

The game will feature two of the nation's top-15 offenses going up against two of the country's top-10 defenses. Alabama is ranked fourth in total offense and ninth in total defense, while Arkansas is 15th in total offense and 10th in scoring defense.

The Crimson Tide will continue with practices Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to The Ozarks on Friday. No. 1 Alabama will face off against No. 10 Arkansas Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.

INFORMATION/PHOTO SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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