Have I mentioned that I hate these games?
In all sincerity, Alabama needed a get well game on offense after a frustrating outing against LSU, and they got it. Bryce Young became the first player in school history to open a game with 13 straight completions, and the Tide rolled to a 59-3 victory.
Besides Young, Jameson Williams was the star on offense with six catches for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Brian Robinson was his typical steady if not spectacular self, and the Tide generally moved the ball at will, as you would expect. It’s always hard to glean anything from these games, but here’s what I saw.
This one was costly
All indications are that Alabama will be without both Roydell Williams and JoJo Earle for the rest of the regular season at a minimum. Earle is one of a very few freshmen to make any contribution this season, which is surprising and a bit disappointing considering the quality of the class. Slade Bolden will likely be the punt returner for the balance of the season, and the RB position is left perilously thin.
Trey Sanders looked capable
The one silver lining to the injury situation is that Trey Sanders got an opportunity and looked good. He is a patient runner with good vision and power. We also saw Demouy Kennedy and Christian Leary play in emergency mopup duty, and both guys looked pretty decent. Kennedy did a fantastic job picking up a blitz off the edge, and Leary hit the hole with some power for a slot receiver.
Offensive line is still showing warts
The line did some better today, but it continues to disappoint despite a bevy of blue chip prospects available to mix and match. JC Latham came in as the nation’s top tackle prospect, and at IMG he looked ready to play college ball last year. Not only is he a backup, but he’s playing guard rather than tackle. Chris Owens moved to center today and low snaps were an issue just as they have been with Darrian Dalcourt. Javion Cohen has an injured arm and we don’t know when we will get him back. Replacement Tommy Brown whiffed on a pull and nearly got Young beheaded. Emil Ekiyor appeared to be nicked up.
This position group is a mess, and we can only hope there is still something that can be done.
The defense was outstanding again
On a positive note, the defense continued to shine. Will Anderson was everywhere as usual, but any time you allow only three points there is plenty of credit to go around. Coverage busts were held to a minimum, the DL dominated and the LBs cleaned up. Dallas Turner and Kool Aid McKinstry are the two freshmen on that side to get meaningful time, and they seem to be holding their own. Let’s hope the trend continues.
Jalen Milroe looks like the better option in case of the unthinkable
We really don’t want to even think about the possibility, but it seems rather clear that the best option in case of emergency would be Jalen Milroe mixing in a heavy dose of his legs. Let’s just avoid the situation altogether.
Since the main goal in playing these games is to emerge healthy, we can’t call this one a total success. Still, another win is in the books and we now head into a two game season to determine postseason destinations. Oklahoma lost today, which considering their struggles against bad teams very likely eliminates the Big 12 from consideration. The ACC has long since been in the trash bin.
Of course, none of it matters if Alabama can close out the season with two wins plus another over Georgia in Atlanta. Which Crimson Tide team shows up will decide their fate.