Bryce Young was the highest-rated quarterback recruit in Alabama history, tied for the highest-rated recruit overall; and he arrived in Tuscaloosa with plenty of hype. Mac Jones was rolling to a historic season, however; and Young was the back-up, only getting attempt 22 passes (it’s a little disappointing Nick Saban didn’t let him throw it more during the blowouts, but that’s a different discussion).
With Jones off to the NFL, it’s Bryce Young time, though. He was the #1 QB throughout the spring; and his performance - and Paul Tyson’s - during A-Day did nothing to suggest that won’t remain the case.
2nd and 9: Young (#9) fakes the handoff to Roydell Williams (#23) to the right and then rolls to the left. It looks like he goes through his first two reads with no luck. Bryce Young then looks back to his right and spots defensive lineman Byron Young (#47) bearing down on him. He jukes Young and goes back across the field to a wide open Roydell Williams along the sideline for a huge gain.
1st and 10: Young fakes the handoff and has a three step drop. He immediately starts climbing back up the pocket, taking a couple steps before rifling a pass to Traeshon Holden (#11) over the middle. The cornerback, Josh Jobe (#28), is in great position, all over Holden; but Young somehow fits it into the tiny window. Holden hangs on for the reception.
3rd and 12: Young knows the offense needs a big chunk here. And the play works. The offense has three receivers bunched on the right; and it results in Slade Bolden (#18), whom Young found for a third down conversion earlier this drive, matched up against freshman linebacker Deontae Lawson (#32). Bolden has a step, and there’s room to drop a pass in away from Lawson and the safety help. Unfortunately, Young goes long and behind Bolden; and Jordan Battle (#9) is a step or two away from the interception.
1st and 10: Young has pressure almost immediately here after Monkell Goodwine (#95) beats right guard Damieon George (#74) inside. He smoothly moves out of the way and uncorks a pass to wide open tight end Cameron Latu (#81). Yes, he hit a wide open guy; but he did it while moving around pressure and without being able to fully step into the throw. He still found the play and put the pass right on the money.
3rd and 9: The offense is on the left hashmark for this third and long, and they’re spreading the defense out. Bolden is the slot receiver and lined up on the right hashmark. Holden is even farther, out of the shot at the snap. Young knows Holden is in one-on-one coverage and only has eyes for him. He throws from the left hash to the right sideline and hits Holden in perfect time on the comeback route. Holden makes Jobe miss and takes off for nice yards after the catch.
3rd and 13: The offense sends its receivers deep, seeing as how it’s third and long. The running back also drifts out into the flat to give Young another option. Young’s reads to the left are covered, as is the one to the right. But he does see lots of open green grass. Once Jaylen Moody (#42) has committed enough to the running back, Young takes off. Because the defenders just have to touch the quarterback, Young is stopped just shy of the first down; in a real game situation, Young’s momentum would have carried him past the first down marker.