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Kirby Smart wasn't pleased with Bama's 2012 defense

If you held the opinion that Alabama's 2012 defense was the closest thing to perfect major college football has seen since, well, Alabama's 2011 defense, chances are you wouldn't get much resistance.

Who could find fault in a defense that led the country in rushing defense (76.36 yards per game, 2.43 yards per carry), total defense (250 ypg, 4.18 ypp) and scoring defense (10.93 ppg, 20 touchdowns surrendered in 14 games) while ranking a lowly seventh in pass efficiency defense (103.73 opponents' quarterback rating) en route to a second straight national championship.

Turns out, the guy who ran the defense wasn't too pleased with last season's effort. Seriously. 

"We compare ourselves to the last five years of Alabama defenses," Smart said at Alabama's Fan Day on Sunday. "When you do that, last year's defense was not exactly up to par. Not exactly spectacular. We put in a lot of work to improve on defense."

For the record, the Tide's 2012 defense trailed only the 2011 unit in points allowed among Alabama's last five and teams and placed third in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense according to Andrew Gribble of 

"We kind of have a standard here at Alabama," Smart added. "A lot of people think our standard is to be first in the SEC, be first in the country, first in our red zone and run defense. We really don't go by that motto. We go by be the best Alabama defense there's been."

Spoken like someone entering his ninth year of residency at the School of Saban. 

Smart and his seven returning defensive starters start the quest to top the 2011 defense on Aug. 31 against Virginia Tech in Atlanta (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).