Alabama Football: Tide’s report card vs. Mercer Bears

Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /
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How did Alabama football fare vs. Mercer?

A week after Alabama football’s dominant performance against the Miami Hurricanes, they faced a new challenge. This week, the question wasn’t whether or not the Tide could beat the Mercer Bears. They had to beat complacency.

Alabama hasn’t lost to an unranked opponent since Nick Saban’s first year with the Tide. They’ve never lost to an FCS team with Saban in charge. Alabama wanted to prove to themselves that they could dominate against any type of opponent, which changes the grading scale.

In a normal game, you would assume many A+ performances if you win by 31. When Alabama football beat the Bears by that margin, there were frustrations. Still, the Crimson tide won their home opener and will head into SEC play undefeated and as the best team in the country.

With that in mind, let’s break down Alabama’s 2021 report card against Mercer. We’ll go position-by-position, starting with the tight ends.

Tight Ends: B-

For the second straight week, Cameron Latu started at tight end for the Crimson Tide. Jahleel Billingsley saw limited reps once again. Neither player had a catch, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they played poorly.

Latu helped seal the edge on some outside runs. Billingsley ran quality routes that could not be completed due to bad passes. The tight ends could have gone above and beyond, but they simply failed to meet the high expectations. Still, they did some quality things, and most of the errors were not on them.

At this point, the Jahleel Billingsley situation is a real concern. He should be one of the best tight ends that Alabama football has had, but he remains out of the starting lineup. We’ll have to see if he can step up once SEC play begins next week.