How will Bryce Young and Alabama football play vs. Miami in the season opener? Not even Nick Saban knows | Hurt

Cecil Hurt
Tidesports.com

It’s been 20 months since Bryce Young has been a starting quarterback, but if his preparation at the podium Monday was any indication, he’s ready.

Asked if he would like for Alabama football to receive if it wins the coin toss against Miami on Saturday, eliminating a few more minutes of nervousness, Young smiled and gave the corporate answer. 

“You’re asking the wrong person,” he said. “That’s definitely a coach Saban question.”

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The questions that the personable Young, even the light-hearted ones, aren’t what matters, though. The real questions will come Saturday evening. Some of those will be “coach Saban questions,” too. When Alabama walked off the field in Miami last January, national title in hand, the offense was a full-roar Ferrari but not one you park in the garage and crank up again in September. Too many of the parts are gone.

“I think the realistic approach is we have a lot of new players on offense,” Saban said. “It’s a work in progress to get all these players to develop to be productive and consistent performers. We're working hard on that. The coaches are doing a good job of that.

"We've got new faces and a lot of positions, which creates a lot of opportunity for people. How they manage it in the game, how they can take it to the game, how they prepare for the game, those are all question marks that get answered when you play a game. Wherever we are, we're going to continue to work on it and develop it. I have confidence in the players that we have. We just have, you know, players that don't have as much experience as we had a year ago.

"So, we're gonna see how that manifests itself in positive performance on a consistent basis and how can they manage playing one play at a time and how can they stay focused on executing and doing their job, and I think that'll go a long way to say ... how productive we are ... as an offensive team.”

No one can be faulted for having high expectations for the preseason No. 1 team in the nation. In fact, that’s sort of the working definition of “high expectations.” But this is not some IMG Prep vs. Bishop Sycamore fiasco. Miami enters the season at No. 15, and that’s about as good an opener as could have been expected when it was set up a couple of years ago.

Young will be pushed to make plays. The offensive line listed on the depth chart is “good to go,” Saban said, but it still contains some names that only a deep dive into the Alabama roster would have yielded a couple of weeks ago.

Bryce Young passes as Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban looks on during the University of Alabama A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

How will those young players fare? Not even Saban thinks that is a “coach Saban question.” 

“I don’t have the answers to these questions,” Saban said. “You can’t figure all this stuff out in practice. I don’t know how the offensive line is going to do, I don’t know how the run defense is going to do, I don’t know how a new player playing wide receiver or cornerback is going to do. But this is their opportunity.”

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil@tidesports,com or via Twitter @cecilhurt 

Cecil Hurt