Christian Barmore is a popular man around the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility.
Safety Xavier McKinney enjoyed reliving Barmore’s sack celebration from the University of Alabama’s football game against Texas A&M, when it “looked like he didn’t really know what he wanted to do for a celebration.” Outside linebacker Terrell Lewis laughs at Barmore’s locker room antics, calling him, “goofy.”
If all goes according to plan, Barmore will soon be a likable character for what he does on the field.
The redshirt freshman defensive lineman from Philadelphia, could see his role on UA’s defensive line increase as soon as this week against Tennessee. His first career tackle for a loss and his career sack were both memorable moments for UA’s defenders, and now he’s on tap for more.
“He’s a good pass rusher. He gives us something inside that I think is very helpful in pass rush,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “It’s a role that we’ve been trying to sort of groom him for, and the more knowledge and experience he gets. He did a good job in the game, so we’ll try to continue to use some of that inside pass rush that he gives us to help us in the future.”
Alabama’s affinity for Barmore first showed in the final snaps of the Southern Miss game, when he got two of the game’s final three tackles, one for a loss. The team mobbed him on the field, celebrating the meaningless snaps at the end of a 49-7 win.
The team also had fun with his celebration after his sacks against Texas A&M.
“He’s a goofy guy. He’s a character,” Lewis said. “Whenever you see Barmore in the room, you know you’re bound to laugh.”
McKinney added, “I think that’s one of the guys, no matter whether he’s doing good or he’s doing bad, he’s still going to be energizing, he’s going to help us get going. He’s always been like that, that’s why we love him. Even in the locker room, even if we’re not on the field, he’s always like that. We know the energy that he brings to the field when he gets on the field.”
Al Crosby, Barmore’s head coach at Neumann Goretti High School, saw Barmore win over his locker room with the same type energy.
“Christian is that big rottweiler dog behind the fence: when you walk down the street and you see the dog barking crazy, saliva’s coming out of his mouth, you think, ‘That’s a vicious dog, I hope they don’t open the gate.’ And once they open the gate, he walks up to you to pet him and start playing with you,” Crosby said. “I think he’s got a very hard demeanor on the outside, but once you get to know him, you love him. You gravitate to him.
“Christian is a young man that has a lot of energy. He’s a young man that, he loves the game of football, he plays with so much emotion. He gets people excited because of the way he plays. He’s still learning a lot. He’s excited about learning and he loves when he’s able to do things successfully; when he doesn’t do it, he’s eager to learn to try to make sure he does it the right way.”
Those traits made him the encouraging pass rusher UA views him to be.
Both McKinney and Lewis had high praise for Barmore’s motor. Over recent years, both at UA and in trips back to Philadelphia, Barmore has developed the skills to go with that motor.
“The first thing is get-off,” Crosby said. “Christian has learned that, and I also think he’s got really good hands. Coaches have taught him a lot of hand work and he’s working on that detail more and more. It’s get-off and his hand work.
“I know when he’s back in Philly, my (defensive) coordinator, Dwayne Thomas, and (defensive) line coach Ryan Holmes, both show him a lot of drills and technique to go with the hand work, but also when he’s back in Philly he works with a guy who used to play for Penn State and played for the New York Jets, Deion Barnes. Deion shows him some work as well.”
The result should create a version of Barmore that is easy to follow in the locker room and on the field.
“You’ll never see Christian Barmore play and think he doesn’t care,” Crosby said. “He’s always 100 miles per hour.”
Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson