During the final years of the Bryant dynasty, Russ Wood put the fear in many ball carriers. The son of a successful high school coach, Wood grew up in Elba, Ala. and arrived in Tuscaloosa in time to mostly watch the Crimson Tide stampede to the 1979 national championship. Starting in 1980, he became a mainstay at defensive end—recovering a team-best two tackles in 1981 (the last SEC title of the Bryant era) and causing a team-leading three fumbles in 1982. He was in the lineup, and made several big plays, at the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 29, 1982, when Alabama beat Illinois, 21-15, to send Bryant out a winner.
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