Alabama Football: It’s time for Nick Saban to sit Bryce Young

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s be clear, nothing in the words that follow is a criticism of Bryce Young. He was sensational last season and when healthy the magic he conjures makes him arguably the best Alabama football quarterback of all time.

In fact, Bryce is so good, even when not healthy, he regularly carries the Alabama Crimson Tide offense to victory. But he may not be healthy now. While he is healthy enough to play and has medical clearance to do so, he appears to not be 100%.

No one in the Alabama football program has said it, but from the outside, watching Bryce in the last four games, his shoulder appears to still be limiting him. What is telling are his sideline throws that are frequently lacking his pre-injury velocity. Has the diminished zip made Young reluctant to throw passes much past 25 yards? Plenty of Alabama football fans claim on message boards that the Tide’s almost non-existent deep threat is partly because of Bryce’s shoulder.

Look at Bryce’s numbers in the first four games, and in the five games, he has played since. His passing completion rate was 68.6% in the first four and 59.2% since. None of us can know for sure about the condition of Young’s shoulder, but the numbers don’t lie.

Alabama Football should sit Bryce

No doubt Bryce wants to play and he deserves that opportunity. And no doubt the Crimson Tide offense needs Bryce, even if his passing is less than it was. But with a practice game on Saturday against Austin Peay, sitting Bryce (not benching him) but giving him at most a quarter and a half could be a good decision.

He could go easy on his shoulder during practice and basically use the week as an off-week before Auburn week.

An added benefit is against Austin Peay, both Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson could work with the first-unit offense. The game will be too one-sided to use the first unit much beyond two and a half quarters, but both backup QBs need meaningful game reps.

All too soon, Alabama football fans will have a difficult time moving on from Bryce. But, unless he surprises everyone in the college and NFL games and returns for the 2023 season, we’ll see Bryce in crimson just twice more after the Austin Peay game.

The Alabama Crimson Tide history for Bryce Young will forever be tied to what might have been. Winning the Heisman is an unparalleled honor, but if asked, Young would likely say winning a National Championship would have meant more.

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Alabama fans will long lament that the two most sensational quarterbacks of the Crimson Tide’s modern era, Bryce and Tua Tagovailoa were never starters on an Alabama National Championship team.