Linebacker Reuben Foster’s night was almost cut short when he walked off of the field holding his right hand in Alabama’s 31-3 victory over Chattanooga. After returning from the locker room, Foster immediately made an impact by bursting through the line and recording a tackle for loss.
“He is a warrior,” said sophomore safety Ronnie Harrison about Foster. “He is battling through a lot stuff right now and he continues to work. He doesn’t complain.”
Tonight’s injury is not the first of the season for Foster as he also wears a club on his opposite hand. Even with the injuries, Foster finished tonight with two tackles for loss. Senior defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson said it inspires the defense to see a guy bounce back time and time again.
“It shows how mentally and physically tough he [Foster] is,” Tomlinson said. “He is just a tough player. He is a great leader. He comes back even when he is hurt and he will come back and still play though it. It shows you how tough he is. You can always depend on a player like that.”
Foster has been one of the main leaders for the Crimson Tide all season. Playing in the middle linebacker position, Foster handles a lot of the signal calling for Alabama’s defense.
“Reuben [Foster] is a big vocal leader,” Tomlinson said. “Every time he says something everybody listens to him and starts to play better.”
The first half did not go as expected for Alabama’s defense. The Mocs shocked Alabama on its first possession of the game, driving 50 yards on 10 plays to take a 3-0 lead. After shutting down Mississippi State last week, Chattanooga outgained the Crimson Tide 77-70 in the first quarter.
Harrison said Chattanooga’s first drive was a bit of a wake up call for the Crimson Tide.
“We made a couple of corrections,” Harrison said. “We realized how good these guys [Chattanooga] really were.”
The Mocs used a lot sideline speed to its advantage on a lot of plays. Tomlinson believes Chattanooga’s execution gave Alabama’s defense problems early on.
“They were on the perimeter a lot,” he said. “We were running out to the perimeter and their wide receivers were running pretty good routes. They had good throws from the quarterback.”
Many players on the defensive side of the ball were not happy with the team’s performance. Both Harrison and Tomlinson said players stood up during halftime to talk about what went wrong on the defensive side of the ball. Coming out in the second half, the defense shut down Chattanooga, allowing only 57 yards for the whole half.
‘We came out with a different mentality,” Harrison said. “We came out ready to play and we shut them down in the second half.”
Alabama still struggled to get pressure overall throughout the game. Despite being the NCAA leader in team sacks with 40, Alabama was unable to record one sack for the entire game. Even though the defense may not have played up to its own standards, Alabama still only allowed three points. Harrison said the defense learned a valuable lesson tonight.
“It just goes to show that you cannot take any team lightly,” he said.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports