COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The powerful defenses in the Southeastern Conference are being knocked on their heels.
The SEC has built its reputation on fast, talented defenses and rode that tradition to seven straight BCS national titles. This year, defenses are being shredded yard-by-yard.
Nine of 14 SEC teams are surrendering more yards than a year ago at this time. Among them are some of the conference's defensive leaders the past few seasons: Alabama, LSU and South Carolina.
Whatever the reason - spread offenses, an exodus of defensive talent to the NFL or attack-minded new coaches pushing the offensive tempo - it's apparent early on that SEC defenses are backpedaling.
Alabama coach Nick Saban says one reason is the SEC is loaded with explosive offensive players who have gotten the better of younger defenders.
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