Alabama Football: What it’ll take for Saban to smile vs. Missouri

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

It’s not enough for Alabama football to win against the Missouri Tigers

Alabama football is heavily favored in their season opener against the Missouri Tigers. For the Tide to succeed, they need more than just a win. They need everything to go right. Nick Saban has high expectations for Alabama, and he is not afraid to call his players out on any mistakes made.

Alabama has title hopes in 2020. You don’t get there by being satisfied with just a win. This is the best-case scenario for the Crimson Tide in their season opener. If all of these things happen, Nick Saban might just crack a smile.

Mac Jones cooks

Mac Jones will start at quarterback, and Alabama needs him to prove that he’s the guy in an actual game. He flashed plenty of talent when he filled in for Tua in 2019, but he’s expected to grow through an offseason. For everything to go right, Alabama needs to see just what Mac Jones can do.

Alabama football will likely be conservative with their play calls, but Mac can show his efficiency in the short game while also taking an occasional shot down the field. No one expects him to be a Heisman contender, but the realistic best-case scenario is for him to be a great starting quarterback.

The offensive line avoids penalties

An easy way to get in Nick Saban’s dog house is to stall drives with pointless penalties. Whether they are holdings calls or false starts, any penalty by the offensive line will get under Saban’s skin. This O-line is one of the best in college football, but they struggled with penalties last season. If they get multiple flags against Missouri, Nick Saban will certainly bring it up in his press conference.

A third receiver needs to show some promise

You can’t expect every starting receiver to have over 100 receiving yards in the season opener, but Alabama must have one extra receiver become an X-factor behind Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith. It could be Slade Bolden, John Metchie or even a tight end. If someone can step up and be another option for the Tide, their offense will achieve an extra gear.

The defense communicates

All of Alabama football’s biggest defensive mistakes last season involved miscommunication. Players were aligned wrong at the snap. They didn’t know their assignments. Receivers got open with miscommunication through the secondary. Dylan Moses helps with this, but the young secondary needs to show growth as well.

Will Reichard makes every kick

Let’s be honest. Alabama fans will always grade games on how the kicker did. If Will Reichard can make a couple of field goals and every extra point, the Tide should be feeling good.

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The season is almost here. If these things happen, Nick Saban will have little to vent about in the press conference.