College Football News Preview 2020: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Alabama Crimson Tide season with what you need to know.
5. College Football News Preview 2020: Alabama Crimson Tide Offense 3 Things To Know
– The offense was amazing – scoring the second-most points in the history of the program – and it’s going to be fantastic again after averaging 511 yards and 47 points per game.
It’s only sins were that 1) it couldn’t outgun an LSU team that put together – possibly – the greatest season in the history of college football, 2) leaving Tua Tagovailoa in too long against Mississippi State, and 3) it couldn’t overcome a few bad throws against Auburn – 45 points weren’t quite enough.
Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian lost four players – Tua Tagovailoa, Jedrick Wills, Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy – to the first 15 picks of the NFL Draft, but that’s just the cost of doing business for the Crimson Tide. What’s almost as important is who didn’t leave early.
RB Najee Harris, WR DeVonta Smith, and OT Alex Leatherwood would’ve all flirted with the first round, and almost certainly would’ve been taken in the top 50.
CFN in 60 Video: Alabama Crimson Tide Preview
But the loss of Tagovailoa is the big one. It’s not like his early departure wasn’t expected, and it’s not 100% certain his injured hip would be completely and totally ready to roll for the season opener, but he was one of the all-time most efficient quarterbacks completing g 69% of his passes for 7,442 yards and 87 touchdown s with 11 picks, and averaging 10.9 yards per attempt.
He was pretty good.
Junior Mac Jones is the safe call to step in and run the attack. He’s the veteran who saw plenty of action in mop-up duty before stepping in when Tagovailoa went down for the year. He’s got the arm, can hit the deep ball, and can spread the ball around, throwing 14 touchdown passes with three interceptions – two of them, though, were killers against Auburn.
Taulia Tagovailoa transferred to Maryland, and there’s a reason – welcome to Bryce Young.
Remember when Alabama used to win big things with decent quarterback recruits? That went bye-bye with superstar talents Jalen Hurts, Tua, and now with Young, one of the 2020’s top national prospects. He’s only 6-0 and 190 pounds, but he can sling it, and he’s devastating in the open field. USC had him, and Bama stole him away.
– What’s amazing about Alabama is how it lost Jeudy and Ruggs to the first round of the NFL Draft, and it still might have the nation’s best receiving corps. DeVonta Smith – forever famous for catching the 2018 national championship game-winner – returns after leading the team with 1,256 yards and 14 scores on 68 catches. He’s great, but do-it-all playmaker Jaylen Waddle – who averaged 17 yards per catch with six scores, and almost beat Auburn by himself – might be even more explosive.
Start with those two, hope for relatively untested talents like Slade Bolden and John Metchie to be ready for primetime, expect the excellent freshman to provide the depth, and look for tight ends Miller Forristall to and North Carolina transfer Carl Tucker to get plenty of work.
– The receiving corps is great, but the running back situation is even stronger. The 1-2 punch of Najee Harris – who came up with a nationally underappreciated 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns – and Brian Robinson Jr. was ready for the NFL before last year.
Landing star recruit Jase McClellan – pulling him away from Oklahoma – to go along with Trey Sanders and third-leading rusher Keilan Robinson is almost unfair.
Harris is the guy, but the rotation will be strong behind yet another great line. Alex Leatherwood continues to be an all-star at left tackle, Landon Dickerson is back at center, and as long as a right tackle emerges right away in place of Jedrick Wills, all will be fine.