Alabama Football Running Backs: B
Bama finally went deeper in its running back rotation in this game, and it appeared to pay dividends. Not only did the younger backs provide a spark of energy as anticipated, but seniors Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams looked fresher and more explosive as a result.
McClellan has been Alabama’s leading rusher all year, and continued that role by racking up 83 yards on his 16 carries. Roydell Williams broke off a big run en route to totaling 68 yards on seven attempts.
Sophomore Jam Miller (four carries for 40 yards) and true freshman Justice Haynes (two carries for 11 yards) both saw first half action and ran effectively, each breaking off runs of at least 10 yards.
The only gripe with Haynes in his limited snaps was that he was a liability in pass protection. Haynes isn’t as big as the other backs, and, as a true freshman, doesn’t have as much experience as a blocker. He is a very talented runner that will learn and improve with more reps in pass pro.
It is a shame that Alabama allowed Arkansas to fight its way back into the game, otherwise we likely would’ve seen a lot more of this exciting young duo in the fourth quarter.
Alabama Football Receivers: C
This was probably the shakiest game of the season for the Alabama receivers, or at least the shakiest half. The receiving corps got off to a good start in the first half, ignited by Kobe Prentice’s 79-yard grab down the seam for his first touchdown of the year.
Two more Bama receivers were able to get loose for big plays on the following drive. First, Jermaine Burton hauled in a 44-yarder down the sideline, nothing new for the SEC’s leader in yards per reception.
Facing a 3rd & 16 two plays later, Milroe found junior Ja’Corey Brooks for a chain-moving 25-yard pickup. It was just the third catch of the year, and by far the most impactful, for an experienced receiver that led the Tide in touchdown grabs in 2022.
On Bama’s next drive, Milroe just barely overthrew a vertical shot to Jalen Hale that likely would’ve gone for a touchdown. Four plays later, he hit sophomore Amari Niblack over the top for a 29-yard score.
Niblack has proven to be a dependable playmaker from his tight end position, averaging 19.4 yards per catch with three touchdown grabs. Both figures are good for second on the team behind Burton.
In the second half, the receiver room seemed to lose focus along with Milroe. While the quarterback missed some throws, he wasn’t getting much help from his receivers when he was on target. For the first time this season, the Bama pass-catchers got a case of the drops and weren’t making the plays we have grown accustomed to them making.
I don’t think this issue will carry over to next week. I expect the Bama receivers to be extremely focused for a rivalry game against Tennessee with revenge on the table.