Alabama Football News

Bryce Young using scrambling ability makes him the ultimate dual-threat and elevates Alabama’s offense tremendously

Bryce Young scrambles to the endzone against Tennessee
Photo by Crimson Tide Photo

Alabama’s offense has seen its fair share of peaks and valleys not only throughout the season but seemingly from quarter to quarter.

Whether it’s been a slow start against Mercer, poor execution against Texas A&M, or being utterly overwhelmed in the second half against Florida, the unit is far from being a consistent group.

Yet eight games into the season, the Crimson Tide have just one loss on the year with all of its goals ahead of them which a sizeable chunk of the credit can be bestowed upon quarterback Bryce Young. For the most part, Young has been the one to lead Alabama out of its slumps offensively with timely passes to keep drives alive.

But there’s been one aspect of his skill set that went untapped until last weekend’s matchup with Tennessee. Not only did Young throw for a career-high in passing yards (371), but finally committed to using his legs which was the difference in the game.

In Alabama’s previous matchups there have been callings for Young to take off and run more often rather than hold onto the football and try to make a play with his arm. Young was largely successful awaiting the open receiver throughout the season, but against Volunteers, those opportunities weren’t as available in weeks past, and was forced to extend drives on the ground.

Young finished the game with 10 carries for 42 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came on a critical third down in the red zone which put Alabama up by 14 at the start of the fourth quarter.

“Just having him scrambling, that ability for him to scramble just put a little bit more pressure on the defense for what they need to look forward to,” running back Brian Robinson said following the 52-24 win. “If they have to look forward to the scramble, then that’s just another factor to our offense that we can take advantage of.”

Fans were not going to let Young forget that he was the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 class, and the Tennessee game made him worthy of the title.

Young was responsible for 413 yards of total offense against the Volunteers along with four total touchdowns. But where Alabama benefited the most from Young’s utilization of his arm and legs was the team’s success on third down.

The offense converted on 15 of 20 third-down attempts with 33 total first downs on the game, all while dominating the time of possession battle, holding onto the ball for over 40 minutes. This helped lead to seven red-zone trips where Alabama came away win points on all of them.

Despite the successes, there shouldn’t necessarily be an expectation that there will be any designed run plays entering the playbook for the 194-pound sophomore, as head coach Nick Saban hopes he isn’t forced into these situations too often.

“We would like for him not to have to run, and I think he’s really selective,” Saban said following the game. “We don’t really have any quarterback runs that he actually runs. But he’s done a really good job of scrambling. He’s really deceptively quick and has a really good burst and moves around effectively in the pocket, so he’s not easy to sack. So that’ been very beneficial for us.”

There probably won’t be any Jalen Hurts style draws coming out of offensive Bill O’Brien’s playbook, but the sheer amount of pressure Young can dispose upon a defense is substantial. Teams have utilized a quarterback spy multiple times this season, including the Tennessee game, in hopes to slow down Alabama’s offensive production.

It’s been successful in halting Young from ripping off large runs, but his ability as a passer has aided Alabama in making the defense pay for taking a man out of coverage.

He’s already one of the best passers in all of college football, but now that he’s shown exactly what he’s capable of when he takes off proves why he is heralded as one of the most dynamic players in the sport.

“I would actually hope that he doesn’t have to do it, that we could protect him well enough and get people open well enough that we can throw and catch it and he wouldn’t have to do that,” Saban said. “But I think that any time a quarterback does that, it does affect the defense, and I think it’s something that’s been very effective for us the last couple games.”

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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