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There’s still areas for Alabama to improve defensively. The Tide did not have a sack or quarterback pressure. That will need to change by the time Alabama faces No. 14 Arkansas on Sept. 24. The Tide has another week to work on things with North Texas coming to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

But the defensive backfield, a talented group prone to lapses last year when Kirkpatrick, Menzie and Lester were all new starters, looks as if it could be one of the best in the nation.

At one point in the third quarter against Penn State, Alabama defensive backs got their hands on five straight passes.

“We got to finish on the ball,” Kirkpatrick said.

Barron, the most experienced of the group, had the only interception as the Alabama secondary helped finish off Penn State.