ESPN's Greg McElroy attacks Alabama's Jahleel Billingsley's play in national championship

Erik Hall
The Tuscaloosa News

Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy had strong criticism of Alabama tight end Jahleel Billingsley on Tuesday morning after the 2022 College Football Playoff national championship.

McElroy is the co-host of "McElroy and Cubelic In the Morning" radio show in addition to being an ESPN college football analyst.

Cole Cubelic asked McElroy during their radio show Tuesday morning for his thoughts about Alabama's game plan against Georgia in Monday's CFP national championship game, which UGA won 33-18.

"I liked the plan," McElroy said. "I know a lot of people are beside themselves, and it's all (offensive coordinator) Bill O'Brien's fault. I didn't think it was his fault at all. I thought Jahleel Billingsley was awful throughout the course of the game. Just being honest, I thought he played terrible." 

Georgia's William Poole breaks up a pass intended for Alabama's Jahleel Billingsley during the first half of the College Football Playoff championship football game Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Cubelic responded, "It looked a lot like the Miami game to me."

Alabama defeated the Miami Hurricanes 44-13 on Sept. 4.

"And he needed to play well, because they kind of were relying on him," McElroy said continuing to talk about Billingsley. "He was kind of a feature player within the offensive plan. When (Alabama wide receiver) Jameson (Williams) went down, I mean Jahleel becomes perhaps your biggest threat as far as matchups are concerned, and he did not respond to the challenge whatsoever."

Billingsley had no receptions in Monday's game vs. Georgia. Williams suffered a leg injury with 12:28 left in the second quarter, and he did not play after sustaining the injury. 

When the discussion circled around to an interception that Alabama quarterback Bryce Young threw in the third quarter, McElroy pointed at Billingsley's lack of effort as a contributing factor.

"The first interception was a pure force," McElroy said. "He was trying to work a slot fade to Jahleel Billingsley. ... He throws it into double coverage. It's a bad, bad read. It was a bad, bad force. The effort from Billingsley left something to be desired, but still, there was no way that ball wasn't going to end up intercepted."

Billingsley finished the 2021-22 season with 17 receptions for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Alabama ended the year 13-2 overall. 

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Nick Saban is the Alabama Crimson Tide football head coach. Kirby Smart is the Georgia Bulldogs football head coach.

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.