Alabama Football: Tide’s report card in win vs. Miami

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Did Alabama football pass the test vs. the Hurricanes?

The last time fans saw Alabama football play in Atlanta, the Tide dominated on offense thanks to three seniors. Mac, Najee and Smitty torched the Gators in the SEC Championship ahead of Smith’s Heisman Trophy win. Those three stars were all drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, leaving Alabama with questions in their next game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Alabama won against Miami, but the Tide play for more than simple wins. They are here to dominate. This was the Tide’s true first test of the 2021 season, and they passed. Still, they want to ace it.

Let’s see a position-by-position breakdown of this game and see who truly shined. Did Alabama football truly ace this test as a whole? How did Bryce Young fair in his first start for the Crimson Tide?

Let’s start with an intriguing position battle heading into the 2021 season opener.

Tight Ends: A-

In the past, tight ends haven’t played massive roles in the Tide’s passing offense. Only O.J. Howard and Irv Smith Jr. stand out as receiving threats. The real question this year was if Jahleel Billingsley would fill that role. He has the talent, but he was listed as a backup on the initial depth chart, and Saban hinted that he needs to work to earn the right to play.

That played out in the game. Cameron Latu earned the start for Alabama football, and he played relatively well. He missed some key blocks in pass protection, but he was a good receiving option in his first start. He scored two touchdowns in the second quarter with his first two career catches. Still, the Tide will be better if Billingsley can come back. That will give Alabama football an intriguing tandem at tight end.