Christian Barmore leading resurgent Alabama football defensive line, SEC in sacks

Brett Hudson
Tide Sports

Alabama football’s pass rush has been among the leading elements of its defensive improvement in the second half of the season.

After 11 sacks in its first eight games, it registered 13 in its final two. Eight came in its last game versus Arkansas against a Razorbacks team that was allowing 2.8 per game.

It may not be a coincidence that Alabama’s pass rush started producing around the same time Christian Barmore started producing.

UA’s sophomore defensive lineman has been among the most productive defenders Alabama has had in the last three weeks, registering four sacks. The recent run pushed his season total to six, good enough to tie for the SEC lead as Alabama prepares for Saturday’s SEC Championship Game against Florida.

“He makes a big impact, just to have a person who wreaks havoc and makes big plays,” UA defensive lineman LaBryan Ray said. “To have him back in the huddle is something that’s good to have, just to work across from him and see how he works. Other people feed off of his energy.”

Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore (58) celebrates a sack at Arkansas Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. [Photo by Kent Gidley, University of Alabama]

Barmore was a popular breakout player candidate in the offseason. As an interior lineman with pass-rush skills and little playing time before entering his redshirt sophomore season, he fit the mold of Quinnen Williams, who broke out for 19½ tackles for a loss in 2018 and became the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Barmore had more work to do in run-stopping and played behind Phidarian Mathis, DJ Dale and occasionally Ray before his elbow injury. Lately, Barmore has found ways to produce in a more limited snap count.

“B-Mo, he brings a lot of energy,” cornerback Patrick Surtain II said. “It actually boosts up the defense with how much energy he has. He’s very tenacious. He acts like he’s angry all the time out there on the field. We need those type of dudes on the defense, especially on the D-line.”

The way Barmore has gone about his recent production is the similar to that of the rest of UA’s defensive line.

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“We’ve been a lot more physical up front,” Dale said. “We’ve grown together in the room and just the leadership has evolved. We have older guys in the room like (Mathis) and Barmore’s been playing very well. So when the older guys set the standard like they do in practice, then we match that.”

Reach Brett Hudson at 205-722-0196 or bhudson@tuscaloosanews.com or via Twitter, @Brett_Hudson