Lorenzo Washington speaks of that 1992 Alabama defense with a touch of reverence, like many followers of Crimson Tide football.
"That defense was incredible," the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide's defensive end said. "It had some first-round picks, won the national championship. They were an amazing defense. We're like, 'Man, I wish we could be like that.'"
And maybe, just maybe, they can. The Tide's current group has drawn some comparisons with that gold-standard unit even before reaching the season opener Saturday against No. 7 Virginia Tech.
The reasons begin with eight returning starters from last year's defense that ranked third nationally in total yards allowed and second against the run.
Like that '92 group that smothered Miami and Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta in the Sugar Bowl to claim the national title, this one has stars from front to back.
Now, there's All-America nose guard Terrence Cody. Then, there were All-America ends Eric Curry and John Copeland.
Now, there's All-America linebacker Rolando McClain and a rising star in Dont'a Hightower. Then, there was All-SEC linebackers Lemanski Hall and Derrick Oden.
Now, there's cornerback Javier Arenas. Then, there were All-American Antonio Langham and second-team All-American George Teague, both racking up six interceptions in the secondary.
Hall doesn't mind the comparisons.
"I'm a little biased, man, because I love my team, I love my defense, I love the guys I played with. Obviously I'm going to root for us," he said. "It's good to know other defenses are being compared to the '92 team."
Hall doesn't profess to know all the current defense's personnel well, but he's impressed with the 6-foot-4, 250-plus pounders McClain and Hightower.
"These kids now are bigger, stronger, faster, and it's a different time," said Hall, who lives in Nashville, Tenn. "They are two good linebackers. It's something to see when you look at those big linebackers like, 'Wow, look how big they are, look how fast they are, look how strong they are.' They should be playing at the next level one day."
The NFL is another point where comparisons will have to wait. Copeland, Curry, Teague and Langham were all first-round draft picks in either '93 or '94.
Washington isn't buying into the comparisons yet, but he knows the long memories Tide fans have for teams that win championships.
"I don't want to look toward the end of the season, but if we ended up being one of the best defenses in the history of Alabama, that would definitely be something that I would hold dear to my heart," he said. "That's a pretty cool thing."
Coach Nick Saban doesn't hesitate to dump a cold splash of reality on such conversations. Instead, he points out the not-so-dazzling performances against Florida and Utah to end last season. Alabama lost 31-20 in the SEC championship game and 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl.
"Where it is now, we gave up 31 points in the last two games we played," Saban said. "Even though we were going against two of the best offenses in the country, we need to do better. There's a lot of room for improvement."
Such as the pass rush, where Alabama was merely average in the SEC last season.
The biggest loss from last season was All-America safety Rashad Johnson, the team's No. 2 tackler and interception leader.
Hightower still believes this defense could be better.
"I really do think so," he said. But he added, "We've got a lot of weight put down on us since Rashad left."
Cornerback Kareem Jackson said all the praise is premature.
"As far as everybody talking about how good the defense will be, we're not concerned with that," Jackson said. "We have to do it first for anybody to be able to say that."