Foster, Stewart lead receptions for offense

Foster, Stewart lead receptions for offense

No. 8 Robert Foster during Alabama’s A-Day last spring. CW | Layton Dudley

Sean Landry

Junior Chris Black had been tapped by many to lead Alabama’s receiving corps, depleted by the departures of Cooper, Christion Jones and DeAndrew White, but sophomores Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart led the way for the first team offense on Saturday. The pair combined for 14 catches and 243 yards – a whopping 80.7 percent of the White team’s total yards.

Foster collected six receptions for 125 yards, nearly eclipsing his total of eight catches in all of the 2014 season. According to D.C. Reeves of The Tuscaloosa News, Foster played a grand total of 45 snaps in his freshman 
season, none in competitive minutes.

“As a freshman he kind of struggled getting his bearings on college, growing up a little bit and become a professional and playing at the Division I level,” center Ryan Kelly said of Foster. “This spring he has [shown] a lot of light on his potential and, obviously, maturity. He had a great day out there, and if he can continue that into the summertime, he can be a great player.”

As part of the White team, Foster and Stewart helped lead the winning offense to 301 yards alongside quarterbacks Jake Coker (14-28-1 for 183 yards and a touchdown) and Alec Morris (7-11 for 60 yards). The Crimson team, led by David Cornwell (12-24-2 for 110 yards and a touchdown) and Cooper Bateman (7-11-1 for 48 yards) accrued only 141 net yards. True freshman dual-threat Blake Barnett made appearances for each team, finishing 6-9-2 for 25 yards overall, while coach Nick Saban warned against drawing any conclusions about the quarterback battle after 
the scrimmage.

“I thought the two quarterbacks that played with [the White] team had a much better opportunity,” Saban said. “You’re going to ask me all that stuff and look [at the numbers], and say, ‘Well these two guys played better.’ Well, if I had to play on those two teams, I would’ve played better on the White Team. That’s me playing quarterback. I can still play quarterback. I can sling it a little bit. I can’t see very well, and I might not be able to avoid the rush like I used to. I’m just saying that they had a much better opportunity. We lost a lot of players on offense, so we don’t have a lot of depth on offense right now. It really affects the second unit a lot more than it does the first, especially when you add a few guys that are injured. Those guys had a better opportunity to have success today, and they took advantage of it and did a good job. I thought Jake did a good job, [but] he threw the one pick that was a pick-six.”

Any growth in the passing game will be desperately needed for the Alabama offense. The running game is buoyed by two of the most highly-rated running backs in the country, led by junior Derrick Henry, but with Kenyan Drake returning from a broken leg and no other running backs with serious game time, the Crimson Tide will likely have to look to freshmen for depth. One of those freshmen, DeSherrius Flowers, carried once in Saturday’s scrimmage before leaving the field with a shoulder injury Saban described as “not a big issue.” Highly-rated freshman Bo Scarbrough tore his ACL in spring practice, and freshman Ronnie Clark, who carried five times for 15 yards, is still recovering from an injury, according 
to Saban.

“We have two guys that have proven around here over time that they are very, very good players,” Saban said. “After the first two guys, there hasn’t been a real solid opportunity to have any continuity and development of any of these players. I think whether it’s a freshman that comes in next year or the players that we have now and developing those players, that’s where the depth for this position has to come from. It’s unfortunate because we had some guys here and they didn’t live up to what they were supposed to do and they aren’t here anymore. We feel comfortable and confident that we can develop the players that we have – we have some explosive players there and we will keep working with them.”