Big hits are signature of Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster

Alabama teammates notice hard-hitting linebacker Reuben Foster

Alabama’s 48-43 win over Ole Miss in Oxford a couple of weeks ago went down to the wire in great part because of the performance of the Rebels’ outstanding quarterback, Chad Kelly. Many thought the game might be over early, though, when Kelly sprinted right to pass in the second quarter. He was being contained by outside linebacker Ryan Anderson when suddenly Crimson Tide inside linebacker Reuben Foster blew by Anderson and crashed into Kelly in a monster sack.

Anderson said, “I stopped and my jaw dropped. I was scared. I was scared for (Kelly). I don’t know where (Foster) came from. I was running and it was BOP! I thought, ‘What was that?’ I should have known it was 10.”

Foster, a senior, is in his second year as a starting inside linebacker for No. 1-ranked Alabama, but he looks different than the man who was “the other linebacker” to Reggie Ragland in last year’s national championship season. Although the 6-foot-1 Foster is still much a man, he took off some 20 pounds for this season and is playing at just over 230 pounds.

Anderson said, “He calls his new body a Ferrari. He says last year was a Tahoe. He’s 100 miloes per hour every play. He plays at one speed, and that’s scary. That’s scary. Reuben is a monster.”

Alabama defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson saw the tackle on Kelly. “I’m getting used to it,” Tomlinson said. “I was excited when it happened, but that’s how Reuben hits people. I don’t think he knows how to hit anyone soft.”

Fellow Bama linebacker Keith Holcombe was told that Tide defensive end Jonathan Allen had compared Holcombe to Foster as a hard hitter. "I don't know about that,” Holcombe said. “Reuben's a freak of an athlete. I try to hit as hard as him, but if I do that, I might break my body in half."

Which brings us back to the hit on Kelly. “I had a black eye at the end of that,” Foster said. “He was hard to hit. He’s a tough guy.”

The hard-hitting Foster was second to Ragland in tackles last year. After Bama’s 4-0 start, he is leading Alabama’s defense with 29 total tackles (13 solo) and has two tackles for loss.

This week the Tide hosts Kentucky for a Southeastern Conference homecoming game at 6 p.m. CDT (ESPN televising).

Foster said the Alabama defense “is doing well.” As for himself, he said, “Body feels great. I feel great Ferrari feels good.”

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