Alabama Football News

Will Anderson, Bryce Young, and other individual performances may be Alabama’s key to winning back-to-back titles

Will Anderson (#31) of Alabama tackles Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson
Picture comes via Crimson Tide photos

Balance on offense and defense was the key for Alabama in five of its six national championships under Nick Saban.

Last year, the offense carried the team as it totaled 40+ points in 11 of 13 games to win a national title.

RELATED: Watch Will Anderson obliterate Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks during its onside kick attempt

As much as Crimson Tide fans want balance, Alabama has not won off this method.

Big individual outings have been the winning ingredient. In close victories over Florida, LSU, and Arkansas, Bryce Young was sensational distributing passes at quarterback.

Bryce Young drops back to pass against New Mexico State

Photo by Crimson Tide Photo

He kept the Tide composed in “The Swamp” and totaled 300+ passing yards versus LSU and Arkansas. His three touchdown passes lifted Alabama over the Gators while Young’s record-setting Heisman-worthy outing versus Arkansas beat KJ Jefferson. 

The sophomore has had six games where he tossed for 300+ yards and 3+ touchdowns. 

Alabama defeated Miami, Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State, and Arkansas when Young achieved those performances. The Tide outscored these teams, 198-71. Alabama has Auburn, Georgia, and potentially two College Football Playoff games left. An opportunity for back-to-back national titles might come from having Young continue airing passes to receivers.

RELATED: More personnel changes may be in order for Nick Saban and Alabama to repeat as national champions

Jameson Williams and John Metchie have emerged as Alabama’s duo at wide receiver.

Jameson Williams (#1) and John Metchie (#8) celebrate a touchdown for Alabama versus New Mexico State

Alabama wide receivers Jameson Williams (#1) and John Metchie (#8) celebrate a touchdown versus New Mexico State/Photo comes from Brian Pride of Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Both had 100-yard receiving performances together against Tennessee and Arkansas.

Williams has six 100-yard games, while Metchie has three. When the two are consistently catching passes from Young, the Tide is unstoppable on offense. Williams has accomplished a 1,000-yard campaign (1,218) while Metchie (895) is 105 yards from his first 1,000-yard season. Marquee outings from these two equal a national title for the Tide.

Alabama vs New Mexico State Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) Photo by photo

11/13/21 MFB Alabama vs New Mexico State
Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4)
Photo by photog}

Brian Robinson is nearing his first 1,000-yard rushing season (945) and has 14 touchdowns.

Alabama needs him for back-to-back titles; however, his success depends on the dominance of its offensive line. Despite him having four 100-yard games, the Tide has not been consistent upfront in run blocking.

Robinson might have to do more in the receiving game.

Hopefully, the offensive line can make a statement in the Iron Bowl. Defensively, Alabama has been up and down all year.

RELATED: Bryce Young signed, sealed, and delivered a historic Heisman-worthy performance against Arkansas

Will Anderson serves as the one constant.

Without him, the Crimson Tide is worse on defense across the board. The sophomore forces offensive coaches to game plan for him, yet they cannot stop him. Anderson leads the group in tackles for loss (26.5), sacks (13.5), and quarterback hurries (eight). The 6-foot-4, 243-pounder also has two pass breakups and 78 total tackles.

Will Anderson rushes the pass against Arkansas

Photo by Crimson Tide Photos

He leads the team for solo tackles (43) and averages one sack per game. Anderson has to continue playing big for a national championship opportunity.

Phidarian Mathis will help the native Georgian. 

Phidarian Mathis (No. 48) celebrates a big play for Alabama's defense versus Miami

9/4/21 MFB Alabama vs Miami
Alabama defensive lineman Phil Mathis (48)
Photo by Crimson Tide Photos

He has 5.5 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, six quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, and 41 total tackles. The fifth-year senior has increased his NFL Draft value for 2022. Alabama needs for him to keep being disruptive.

The Tide will need Dallas Turner, Drew Sanders, Christian Harris, Henry To’oto’o, Byron Young, and players in the defensive secondary to step up. Headline names carry teams, but it’s the supporting cast that makes a championship run.

Alabama will have to lean on its leaders more, so it will be interesting to see if they can sustain the level of excellent play.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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