Alabama Football: After Saturday what’s next for Mac, Bryce and Paul

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

What changed and didn’t because of the Alabama football, Saturday scrimmage.

Alabama football does not return to the practice field until Tuesday, with a short week of work and next weekend off. Did Saturday’s scrimmage change anything for players competing for starting jobs? Crimson Tide fans have to accept the answer being, yes, no and maybe.

Unknowns drive the always speculative preseason period. With two weeks to go and the opening game not including a marquee opponent, some Tide fans might be needlessly stressing.

Two-deep battles will continue this week. The Saturday scrimmage was 1s vs. 2s. Tuesday and going forward, practices will feature 1s vs. 1s. After Saturday’s scrimmage, Nick Saban described the quarterbacks as efficient. That is good news for Tide fans, especially with reports the only QB without a Saturday turnover was Paul Tyson. Bryce Young played well but did not overtake Mac Jones, who performed well again.

Apparently the QB pecking order is unchanged since all three performed well in the scrimmage. One stress producer to discard is the presumption if Bryce Young does not start, he will transfer for the 2021 season. Alabama football insiders counter that the only QB controversy in Tuscaloosa is outside the team and the coaching staff.

Barring a practice injury, Mac Jones will start against Missouri. Bryce Young will play and so will Paul Tyson. All three need to be ready for later games. If Nick Saban were to decide to use them situationally, it might surprise some fans Paul Tyson has the strongest, most accurate arm of the trio. He does not have Mac’s experience or Byrce’s mobility, but he can lead the offense, given adequate pass protection.

Pass protection should not be a problem. With Leatherwood out on Saturday, shuffling in the offensive line continued. Solid backups at tackle are needed. Otherwise, when Nick Saban chooses his best five, they can be the nation’s best.

There is plenty of competition left on defense. There may be as few as five definite starters so far on defense; Moses, Ray, PSII, Chris Allen and Jordan Battle. Christian Barmore and Josh Jobe had to take back seats Saturday. Based on several reports, Justin Eboigbe and Marcis Banks made the most of added scrimmage time. If Will Anderson does not start, he will play plenty. The same for Christian Harris, D.J. Dale, Phidarian Mathis and Byron Young.

Along with Banks, DeMarcco Hellams, Ronald Williams, Eddie Smith, and the two freshmen, Brian Branch and Malachi Moore, the fifth and sixth DB spots remain fluid. Nick Saban said after the scrimmage if a sixth DB cannot consistently perform, he is willing to rely more on a nickel defense.

The three 1s vs. 1s sessions this week should identify if Jobe will hold off Banks at corner and who will be given the nickel back, Star role. Daniel Wright appears to have settled in next to Battle at safety.

The defensive line rotation will matter less than the past two seasons. The Tide has depth, past a two-deep and if the unit stays healthy, it will be disruptive to opposing offenses.

Until there are new developments (and there will be), Mac is QB1; Najee Harris and other RBs will be awesome; the offensive line will be better than last season; the defensive line will be much better than last season; the linebackers will be sensational. The secondary will be a work in progress and will improve throughout the season.

Grading Tide Depth by Position. dark. Next

The best news for Crimson Tide fans – next week the real football season begins. And not a moment too soon.