Alabama Football: Shedding concern about QB inexperience and depth

Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports /

It is rare for an Alabama Football team to have this season’s combination of limited quarterback game experience and questionable depth. After one of college football’s most explosive offenses ever last season, how much less will the 2021 offense produce?

The answer is unknown but what is known is 6,001 yards of 2020, net offense must be replaced. Returning yardage production from 2020 is 1,040 yards. The 2021 guys having to replace those thousands of yards will have to do behind a Crimson Tide offensive line that is also rebuilding.

A quick assessment could be the biggest weakness for the new Crimson Tide offense is having to replace DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Replacing the Crimson Tide’s greatest wide receiver of all time, plus another with an exceptional package of speed and elusiveness is a major challenge. Grouped with John Metchie III, another two, three, maybe as many as five other Crimson Tide wideouts offer massive potential. Plus, there is Jahleel Billingsley who is a tight end with wide receiver attributes. Catching the football and then running with it is not likely to be a big problem for the 2021 Crimson Tide.

An argument can be made in 2020 Najee Harris was the most complete back in Crimson Tide history. Running back by committee, led first by Brian Robinson and including three or four more guys can make up for losing Najee. If they don’t it will likely be from blocking weaknesses rather than running back deficiencies.

If Cameron Latu lives up to his offseason billing, the tight end position should be improved from last season. What is left? It is quarterback, of course, and the near void from the exit of Mac Jones.

The reason Alabama football fans are so excited by Bryce Young is two-fold. One is his 5-Star, high school recruit rep from powerhouse Mater Dei in California. Young was the No. 1 QB in the 2020 class and No. 2 player overall in the nation. The other reason is Bryce is a true dual-threat QB, even more so than Tua was. He does not often look first to run and is content to slide around the pocket as plays develop. But when a run is the best choice, he is a legit threat.

It remains to be seen if Young can become the astute decision-maker Mac Jones was in 2020. He needs game reps in tight situations to develop that skill. But immediately, he brings to the Crimson Tide offense, a more gifted athlete at quarterback.

While Tide fans are confident Young will deliver, there is nagging worry should a backup be needed in a key game. For at least the first few weeks of the season, there is no competition for QB2. The guy is Paul Tyson. Tyson is not much more than a pocket passer, but his size gives him good field vision and his weight provides durability. In addition, Tyson has a strong and accurate arm.

Some of the few Alabama football insiders to have watched 7-on-7 summer drills have been very impressed with Tyson. A quiet buzz is Tyson has often been sharp in the summer sessions.  His third season in the Alabama football program provides him with deep knowledge of the Crimson Tide offense. It is an offense that will be shaped, rather than changed by Bill O’Brien, giving Tyson’s two seasons with Steve Sarkisian value.

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Jalen Milroe has a big upside that will come later. For now and probably throughout 2021, Paul Tyson is a No. 2 the Tide can count upon.