The jack linebacker typically stands up on the line alongside the three down linemen in the 3-4.
“I’m basically like a D-lineman almost, coming off the edge a little bit,” Alexander said. “Standup ’backer. Playing mostly a rush (responsibility). It’s a little different. It’s actually what I like to do.”
It’s a position for an athletic type, someone strong enough to take on offensive linemen and quick and athletic enough to come off the edge and sack the quarterback or take down running backs in the backfield.
“He’s doing OK,” coach Paul Johnson said of Alexander. “It’s a learning thing for him, but he’s athletic and strong, so he ought to be a good fit there.”
Alexander and the other outside linebackers will be called upon to create the tackles for loss and turnovers that were in short supply in recent seasons. Alexander welcomes that responsibility in his new role.
“It actually relaxes me a lot and allows me to be able to play how I did in my high-school days, where I can just go and blow things up and then just make plays,” Alexander said.
“Not necessarily thinking about, OK, if I go in here, who’s waiting out here? Coach Woody broke it down to, if I’ve got you doing this, this is what I want you to do.”
The simpler nature of the defense compared with the scheme coached by former defensive coordinator Ted Roof is an idea that Alexander and other teammates related Wednesday.
Alexander said that, for instance, he was required in Roof’s scheme to keep watch on multiple keys in a relatively wide field of vision.
“Now, it’s more so you have one key,” he said. “You might have two keys and you read off of them. Whatever they do, you’re going to react, so it’s a lot simpler for us.”
Simple, fast and aggressive have been buzzwords to describe Woody’s defense. It may be that Alexander, in an integral position in the Tech defense, will exemplify all three of those elements of the scheme.
“A real attack style of defense,” he said. “My position is just that.”