Alabama Football: Running backs showing some burst
When the Alabama football team takes the field on offense against Utah State, I will be closely watching the running backs. Of course, everyone’s biggest question will be the offensive line. Assuming the unit has improved, I am interested to see how much burst and explosiveness the Tide’s backs are.
Nobody has any doubts about Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs, who will probably be the no. 1 running back on Saturday. Gibbs is an all-purpose back and a home run threat from anywhere on the field. He showed it on A-Day with a long touchdown run, and we will certainly see him in the open field at some point against the Aggies.
After Gibbs, the Alabama backs all have questions surrounding them. How healthy will Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams, and Trey Sanders look? McClellan and Williams are both coming off of season-ending knee injuries last season.
Trey Sanders suffered injuries in 2019 and 2020. He was healthy throughout 2021, but never appeared to be at full speed. Now another year removed from his setbacks, Alabama fans are curious to see if Sanders can regain the burst he had coming out of high school.
It looked early in fall camp that Roydell Williams, a power back, could be RB2. To me, this means that Williams is at or approaching full health. Based on his performance in fall practice and scrimmages, Jase McClellan looks and feels healthy as well.
Alabama Football: Receivers making plays
All offseason it has been reiterated that the Alabama football receiving corps is inexperienced and unproven. There is no question, however, about the talent in the room. Alabama fans are ready to see these guys make some big catches and begin to get that experience under their belt as a unit.
Transfers Jermaine Burton and Tyler Harrell are no strangers to making big plays, they just haven’t done it in an Alabama uniform. Sophomore Ja’Corey Brooks and junior Traeshon Holden have made valuable contributions in the past, but now they must show they can do so on a consistent basis.
Perhaps the most exciting guys to watch on Saturday will be the younger receivers. This is in part because it will be our first chance to see many of them. It is also because they have so much speed and explosive play-making potential. Alabama football fans are itching to see guys like Christian Leary, Kobe Prentice, and Isaiah Bond get touches in the open field, and they will have that opportunity on Saturday.
Alabama Football: Defensive line activity
It’s understood that Will Anderson Jr. and Dallas Turner will be extremely disruptive for Alabama football against the Utah State Aggies. The inside linebackers, Henry To’o To’o and Jaylen Moody, should make a lot of plays too.
I would also like to see the interior defensive line doing more than just absorbing blocks. Byron Young, Justin Eboigbe, and Tim Smith have all shown the ability to penetrate into opposing backfields and make big plays.
Additionally, it will be very exciting to see some of the defensive linemen who have generated excitement this offseason. Guys like Jamil Burroughs and Jaheim Oatis could potentially see a lot of snaps against Utah State, and will have an opportunity to show their ability.
There will be a lot to take in while watching Alabama’s season opener against Utah State. These are some of the factors I will be keeping a particularly close eye on.