Alabama Football: For Arkansas it will be Mac, Taulia or Slade

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Against Arkansas, the Alabama football offense will be led by Mac Jones, Taulia Tagovailoa or Slade Bolden. Take a close look at all three.

The absence of Tua against Arkansas puts Alabama football at little risk of losing. The Razorbacks are a bad football team. The ESPN FPI gives the Crimson Tide a 98.9 percent chance of winning.

According to the FPI, the highest rated two-win team in the FBS is Tennessee at No. 44. Arkansas, like the Vols, is 2-5 and No. 81. The Tennessee rating is interesting because the Vols are above 6-win Wake Forest, 5-win teams, Navy, Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh and 4-win teams, Cal, Duke, Louisville, Nebraska, Boston College and North Carolina State. The FPI does not have much love for the ACC.

Even with the disparity between the two teams, the Alabama Crimson Tide must still field a scoring offense against the Hogs. Who will lead the offense at QB garners debate. The most probable starter, based on time in the program and game experience is Mac Jones.

Should Mac falter or be lost to injury in the game, Tua’s younger brother, Taulia Tagovailoa is the next in line. More than a few Alabama football fans express more confidence in Taulia than they do in Jones.

A third option is wide receiver and wildcat quarterback, Slade Bolden. Bolden threw the only touchdown pass against the Vols, a six-yarder that caught the Vols confused.

Putting aside the entire spectrum of QB tools and looking solely at athletic ability, Lia and Slade surpass Mac. Considering some of those QB tools,  Alabama football insiders believe the younger Tagovailoa has a stronger arm and is more accurate than Jones.

What Jones has is experience and Nick Saban’s confidence he can manage the game correctly. Lia will not beat out Mac in practice this week. Jones will start and Slade Bolden might be used to run the wildcat more frequently. If Mac and Slade are ineffective, Lia might get a chance.

One well-known coach, June Jones, knows Lia well, having coached him in his sophomore year in high school. Jones said this about Taulia,

"He has the instincts and the accuracy that the great ones have … I really believe he can be a No. 1 draft pick by the time he gets done"

As a sophomore in Hawaii, Taulia threw for 3,919 yards. After the family relocated to Alabama, in two seasons at Thompson High School, Lia threw for over 7,500 yards, with 71 touchdowns. His completion rate was almost 64 percent.

Lia is about an inch shorter than Tua. He throws with his right hand. He can run but has been considered a Pro-style QB. It is unknown if the plan for Taulia has been to redshirt him. He has played in only two games. He could play against Arkansas and another game and still redshirt. Against the Hogs, he is one play away from being QB 1, so he is likely to get into the game. His entry could be late mop-up work or he could have a more pivotal role.

Check out some video of Taulia in the link below.

Related Story. Taulia Tagovailoa profile. light

Slade Bolden could also play a pivotal role against the Hogs. As a high school senior, Bolden accounted for 40 touchdowns, 20 running the football and 20 passing. He was the Gatorade Louisiana Player of the Year. His high school coach describes the Tide’s redshirt freshman,

"He’s strong, fast, elusive and he can make people miss. He’s one of those who can just change direction in a heartbeat. He believes in himself and his ability to make things happen."

Related Story. Slade Bolden Profile. light

It will not be surprising for all three players to see QB action against Arkansas. Even Alabama football coach, Nick Saban may not know in advance how much any of them will play.