Alabama Football: Speed can solve the O-line problem


Alabama football is getting creative

Last year’s offense was historic in many ways, but Alabama football had one fatal flaw. The offensive line went from being the best in college football to one of the worst of the Saban era. Without both starting tackles from last year, this appears to be an issue once again.

Alabama has addressed this position in recruiting and the Transfer Portal, but that does not guarantee that Bryce Young will have a clean pocket this season. That won’t be guaranteed until it happens, and it will then be too late to fix any remaining problems.

Instead of putting all its eggs in the Tyler Steen basket, Alabama football got creative and created a contingency plan. The Tide added Tyler Harrell, the fastest receiver in college football.

Harrell reportedly ran a 4.19-second 40, and that speed appears on tape. He is capable of beating defenders down the field for deep balls, but he can also outrun safeties on a quick slant with the ball in his hands. He adds versatility to the offense that cannot be coached.

So, why does this help the offensive line?

The deep ball won’t do much for Alabama football if the offensive line can’t protect Bryce Young, but the speed can simplify the offense. Alabama just needs to put the ball in Harrell’s hands and let him do the rest. A simple screen or RPO has the potential to go the distance, and teams will have to account for that whenever he is on the field.

Expect defenses to run plenty of nickel and dime coverages. The speed of Gibbs in the backfield also makes this important. Any eligible receiver is capable of taking it to the house, and you can’t expect the defense to consistently bring pressure in that situation.

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So, this should take pressure off of the offensive line. They still must improve, but the contingency play raises Alabama football’s 2022 ceiling.