It’s not easy searching for a replacement to one of the best quarterbacks in the history of your university, but Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s development is cushioning the transition.
Young was assigned solely to the first-team offense by head coach Nick Saban and was tasked to play against Alabama’s veteran layered defense during the team’s spring game. With players like John Metchie, Emil Ekiyor and Brian Robinson sitting out the game, the sophomore’s performance was likely going to be graded on a curve.
Despite the missing weapons, Young provided stability and poise to an Alabama offense going through some major turnover.
“I think he did a good job today,” Saban said during his postgame press conference. “I think that probably in a game like today, there’s a lot more drop-back passes just by the way you sort of plan the game. You have a minimal number of plays that you’re gonna run in the game, so probably some of the issues that we have in the offensive line with guys missing, the pocket collapses on him and he was in some tough situations relative to that.
“But I think he’s done a really good job all spring. We continue to work on him kind of having the presence out there that affects other people in a positive way, and I think he’s starting to get more and more respect from the other players by the way he plays. But every scrimmage we had he performed very, very well, and I thought he performed well today.”
Young completed 25 0f 44 passes for 333 yards and one touchdown as he led the white team to a 13-10 victory of the crimson team and was later named the MVP of the game. He did end up facing a good deal of pressure from the defense and experienced a few dropped passes which affected the bottom line in terms of the numbers.
“Quarterback’s a hard position to play when the people around you don’t play well,” Saban said. “(Young) had some opportunities that he couldn’t take advantage of because of pressure he got in the pocket.”
The California native connected with seven different receivers throughout the spring game and showed solid chemistry between the likes of Traeshon Holden as well as Slade Bolden who were the top receivers on the white team.
“I think Bryce has put in a lot of effort this spring in just understanding the offense and trying to improve on himself and also bringing the offense together,” Bolden said following the game. “He’s shown some leadership skills. He’s also done a great job executing on the field. I think there were some plays that we would like to have back, but overall, I thought we executed very well as an offense. I thought Bryce did well, as well.”
Although it didn’t quite match the offensive output of the 2020 Crimson Tide team, it was a nice step in the right direction as Alabama tries to figure out that side of the ball.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77