Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett competed for the starting job in August before being redshirted this season, but the California native was available at the Cotton Bowl media day on Tuesday.

Tide 99.1's Ryan Fowler caught up with Barnett to talk to him about his growth in year one and what makes this year's Crimson Tide team special.

"I'd say leadership, attitude, and work ethic," Barnett said. "We're surrounded by a great group of seniors who lead the way for everyone else. I believe we work harder, possibly, than anyone in the nation as far as our meetings, practice lifting. We really pride ourselves on that."

The true freshman has faced this Alabama defense throughout the season as the scout team quarterback in practice. Barnett said that's been a big part of improvement from spring until now.

"I'd say I'm a lot better being able to go against the defense and getting adapted to the speed of the game," Barnett said.

Alabama will face Michigan State on Thursday night in the College Football Playoff.