What I liked — and didn't like — from Alabama football on A-Day | Toppmeyer

Blake Toppmeyer

Alabama football celebrated its 2020 national championship with a ceremony Saturday and also offered a preview of what we can expect from the Crimson Tide in 2021 during A-Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  

Here's my final assessment:

What I liked:Bryce Young passed his first test as Alabama’s first-string quarterback. Young’s predecessor, Mac Jones, said it best during a fourth-quarter interview on ESPN that Young “looks in control.” Whether Young will keep Alabama’s offense functioning at the level it reached under Jones remains to be seen, but he offered a strong initial impression.

Even missing top receiver John Metchie, the receiving corps looked solid. No, there’s not a DeVonta Smith in the bunch, but Alabama has steady pass catchers like Traeshon Holden and Slade Bolden.

Wide receiver Agiye Hall and cornerback Ga'Quincy McKinstry, a pair of highly touted early enrollees, impressed.

The first-string defense held its own, led by Demarco Hellams and Jaylen Moody.

TOPPMEYER:Alabama football looks just fine with Bryce Young at QB. Is just fine enough?

HURT:Nick Saban stepped into the spotlight on A-Day — and delivered a show

ANALYSIS:Alabama football A-Day spring game takeaways: Bryce Young passes for 333 yards

What I didn’t like: Alabama’s offensive line struggled to protect the quarterbacks. Young lost a fumble that Moody recovered for a defensive touchdown after the line allowed Young to come under quick duress from Chris Braswell. The ground attack, which was missing Brian Robinson, was so-so.

Kicker Will Reichard connected on just 2 of 5 field-goal attempts.

The performances of backup quarterbacks Paul Tyson and Braxton Barker left something to be desired.

Quotable: “The players know that if they run into me, it is very similar to running into the goal post, so it is not a good choice and decision for them, so they usually avoid me.” — Nick Saban, on nearly getting trampled during an interception return

Game ball: Bryce Young. The sophomore completed 25 of 44 passes for 333 yards. He showed off his mobility, but also his confidence and steadiness.

Lingering question: Young is clearly very talented, and he capped his spring atop the depth chart with a quality performance Saturday. But, can he play to the caliber that Alabama enjoyed from Jones and Tua Tagovailoa? 

Blake Toppmeyer is an SEC Columnist for the USA TODAY Network. Email him at BToppmeyer@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.