Alabama football vs. Mercer: Scouting report, prediction and what to know about the Bears

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football will return this week to Bryant-Denny Stadium, a venue that will feel much different than in 2020. 

There's no longer a capacity limit, and the first opponent to take in a much more populated Bryant-Denny Stadium will be Mercer. 

The Bears haven't faced the Crimson Tide since 2017, when players such as Jalen Hurts, Bo Scarbrough and Calvin Ridley were some of the top playmakers. Alabama won 56-0 that day. 

Here are a few things to know about this year's Mercer team: 

Mercer won big in Week 1

Mercer couldn't have asked for a much better start to its season. The Bears won 69-0. 

Sure, it came against Point University, but it was still a significant victory no matter the opponent. The Bears set records for points, yards (778), rushing yards (539), touchdowns (10), rushing yards per play (9.1) and extra points (9).

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"Mercer is a little different offensive team, they had a dominant win last week, they’ve got a lot of starters returning, they had three really big wins last year," Nick Saban said. "So, this is a program that is really, really improved." 

Tommy Pollack the offensive player to watch

Despite the significant scoring efforts in Mercer's opener, many skill players didn't have significant statistics. 

More than a dozen players had at least one carry and nine had a reception. But Pollack is probably the lone exception for a player who stuck out statistically. 

He finished with 13 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

A two-quarterback system

Expect to see multiple Mercer quarterbacks. 

The Bears used two in the first half against Point, and four total quarterbacks played. 

Carter Peevy finished with nine completions for 139 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Fred Payton, the other first-half quarterback, had four completions for 54 yards and a touchdown with zero interceptions. 

Dylan Fromm also saw time at quarterback, and yes, he's related to Jake Fromm – his older brother is the former Georgia quarterback. Tyler Fromm at Auburn is Dylan's twin brother. 

The interesting player

Over the course of the summer, The Tuscaloosa News looked at a player on each Alabama football opponent who's interesting. 

For the Mercer game, linebacker Alvin Ward Jr. earned that title. He plays four instruments: trumpet, piano, bass and electric guitar. 

“(Playing music) was just so therapeutic for me,” Ward told The Tuscaloosa News. “After a long day of practice or I just have a whole lot of homework, I just want to clear my mind. I tend to get stuck in my head a lot, so as I play my instruments, it soothes me out and I can be just calm down and just enjoy my time.”

Prediction: Alabama 62, Mercer 3

After an impressive victory against a ranked opponent in Week 1 against Miami, Alabama rolls to an even bigger win against an FCS team. No 69-0 shutout this time for the Bears.