Alabama Football: How Steve Sarkisian keeps Crimson Tide explosive without Jaylen Waddle.
Not that Steve Sarkisian needs any prodding, but Alabama football head coach, Nick Saban still wants an explosive offense. Make that demands, instead of wants, and to Saban, the loss of Jaylen Waddle will not be an excuse.
Steve Sarkisian must maintain explosiveness without his formerly most explosive player. Getting DeVonta Smith more touches will be the place to start. Most opposing defenses will take the chance doubling Smitty does not make them too vulnerable against the other Crimson Tide receiving threats.
Sark will be ready to make defenses pay for too much attention on Smith. His primary targets will be John Metchie and Slade Bolden. The first guy behind the trio could soon be freshman Javon Baker. Alabama football fans have confidence in Metchie and Bolden. They are also bullish on Javon Baker’s potential. Still, some doubt lingers and it is all about speed, as in not enough of it.
During every recruiting cycle and every NFL Draft Week, football fans ‘ooh and ah’ about the fastest players. The Alabama Crimson Tide has been blessed with speedsters in recent seasons. Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle are scorching fast guys with 4.2-something speed. Jerry Jeudy, with 4.4 speed as a Crimson Tide player, was plenty fast. So was Calvin Ridley.
As much fun as “nobody can catch him” plays are, wide receiver speed is a bit overrated. Being really fast is for more important for a cornerback than a wide receiver. The receiver knows where he is going and sets the pace. The corner must react and be able to use his speed to catch up.
Crimson Tide fans worry DeVonta Smith is the only 2020 receiver who can clock a sub-4.5, but that may not be a major problem.
When the Alabama football staff was recruiting John Metchie, some Tide fans feared he was too slow. Slower than the burners, yes, but too slow, absolutely not. Current fears are Bolden and Javon Baker are 4.6 guys, too slow to run away from a safety and certainly not a corner.
NFL Draft Scout lists Slade Bolden’s speed in the 4.42 to 4.59 range. Prior to the Crimson Tide signing Javon Baker, he was highly rated by recruiting experts for everything but his speed. Reportedly he was a 4.6-plus guy. Over the summer and early fall, Alabama football insiders and Tide staff argued Baker’s speed is not a problem. It was even stated he can out-run most of his Crimson Tide receiver teammates.
Alabama football can still be explosive without Jaylen Waddle. Body control, good route running, and strong, soft hands are needed by wide receivers more than blazing speed.