Alabama Football Running Backs: C+
The Alabama running backs weren’t particularly impressive in the first game, but they did their job. It felt like the Crimson Tide was working on other things (namely ensuring that Milroe was comfortable) rather than leaning heavily on the running game, which is assumed to be more of a sure thing.
Still, Bama went five-deep in the RB room and racked up 205 total rushing yards.
As expected, seniors Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams carried the load early. McClellan led the team with 10 carries, good for 39 yards and a touchdown. Williams ran seven times for 36 yards and caught a short pass.
The Tide then went to sophomore Jam Miller, who gained just 14 yards on his four attempts.
True freshmen Justice Haynes and Richard Young both got significant playing time in the second half. Haynes got just four carries, but he gained 29 yards and looked explosive with a team-high 7.3 yards per carry. Young ran five times for 18 yards.
The RB room is deep, and I think this is a position group that Bama could rely on heavily if necessary.
Alabama Football Receivers: B-
The Alabama receivers are still working to become more consistent as playmakers, but the group was solid in week one. Early on, the receiving corps got open underneath and seldom dropped a pass. This was a huge factor in helping out Jalen Milroe and building the confidence of the young QB.
As the game progressed, the receivers eventually started to win vertically, which was perhaps the most welcome sight of the evening for Alabama fans.
Sophomore Isaiah Bond beat MTSU defensive backs deep multiple times, hauling in Milroe’s first touchdown pass of 2023. Senior Jermaine Burton also beat a man deep for a touchdown, an ability he has shown in the past.
At tight end, Amari Niblack made two big catches from two different quarterbacks. He was on the receiving end of Milroe’s third touchdown pass, as well as Buchner’s first completion in an Alabama uniform, both going for 20+ yards. The athletic tight end might be a game-changing weapon for the Tide offense this season.
Perhaps the most promising thing about the receiving corps was what we didn’t see. Junior Ja’Corey Brooks may be the best receiver on the team, but was suspended for the first half and didn’t record any stats in the game. Junior Malik Benson and sophomore Kendrick Law were also fairly quiet, but both could become big parts of the offense this fall.