Alabama Football: If Bryce Young beats out Mac Jones by the Georgia game, massive expectations for Young will explode.
How we love Alabama football backup quarterbacks. Going back to the Bear Bryant years, even young, untested QBs. Names that illustrate the point are many. Think back to Bryant’s time and remember the names Benny Rippetoe and Perry Cuda. Jump forward to Ray Perkins’ tenure and Vince Sutton. In the Saban era, Phillip Sims and Blake Barnett are other examples.
Crimson Tide fans thought all five guys would become superstars. It never happened. Cuda was described as the next Joe Namath. He threw four passes in his Crimson Tide career. Alabama football fans were convinced Sims and Barnett would become Heisman candidates. Vince Sutton had the most success but was pretty quickly unseated by Mike Shula. In fairness to Rippetoe, he might have had a great Crimson Tide career but Bear’s switch to the wishbone limited his chances.
The point of this meandering through Crimson Tide history is to remind, no incoming college player is ever on a sure-fire path to stardom. The transition from high school to college is particularly tough for quarterbacks.
Designating messiah roles to elite QB recruits is not outlandish given the program history of a head coach believed capable of walking on water. That is the terrain Bryce Young walks on in Tuscaloosa. Quite a few Alabama fans are so enamored of Young, they believe he should start against Missouri. Even after the game week depth chart was released on Monday, some Tide fans remain convinced the Tide can win a championship with Bryce and cannot do so with Mac. Clearly, up to this point, Nick Saban disagrees.
Maybe the all-in for Bryce fans are correct. Young put up exceptional numbers at one of the top high schools in the nation. His high school opposition was often tough. Reportedly, Bryce was given freedom to run the Mater Dei offense none of his predecessors ever enjoyed. Who were some of the QBs never turned loose at Mater Dei? Colt Brennan, Matt Leinert and Matt Barkley are three.
Bryce is a tremendous athlete. Even so, his greatest strengths are mental rather than physical. Quickly learning Steve Sarkisian’s system is a given with Bryce. Most importantly, he is a leader and has quickly shone that ability in Tuscaloosa.
Losing the advantage of early enrollment to a canceled spring, and missing days in fall camp, Bryce had little chance to start against Missouri. Despite the opinions of some Tide fans, Mac Jones will not be on a short leash. Less experienced and inexperienced quarterbacks need seasoning. That seasoning requires coaching patience, similar to what was shone by Nick Saban with Tua.
Not beating out Mac Jones early does not suggest Bryce is over-valued. His time will come.
Many Crimson Tide fans will excitedly await the Bryce Young era. If that era begins with a starting role by the Georgia game, the massive expectations of fans will explode. A bit more soberly – if Bryce is good enough to beat out Mac by the Georgia game – lookout college football. The Alabama Crimson Tide will be on a path that could lead to back-to-back national championships in 2020 and 2021.