Nick Saban’s aversion to depth charts was not a hurdle for the public’s understanding of the pecking order for Alabama quarterbacks last season. The usage made it clear: Tua Tagovailoa was No. 1, Mac Jones was No. 2, Taulia Tagovailoa was No. 3 and Paul Tyson was No. 4. UA’s usage of the four suggested sizable gaps between each tier.
Such clarity may not be as easy to discern in 2020.
Under normal circumstances, a redshirt junior who averaged 11.9 yards per attempt in four starts the previous season would not be questioned by his fan base. But the entrance of a five-star quarterback from a Californian football factory can have that effect. Will he truly challenge for that starter spot to start 2020 or some time after it? Or will he be nothing more than Jones’ backup, with hopes for more in 2021 or 2022? There will be no shortage of attention paid to Young and his status in the quarterback room.
Despite most of his playing time coming in spot starts for an injured starter, Jones’ presence as UA’s quarterback did not fundamentally change its offense. In his three starts against Power 5 competition last season, Jones had at least seven completions of 30 yards or more; for comparison, Ole Miss had 12 in its entire season, and Texas A&M had 10.
UA’s first offensive play of the Citrus Bowl, after all, was a deep pass from Jones to Jerry Jeudy, resulting in an 85-yard touchdown.
Jones’ foothold on the starting position through that experience will be a hurdle for Young to clear if he is to take the starting job from the beginning.
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