Why open week was much needed for Alabama football QB Bryce Young ahead of LSU

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Don't judge the Alabama football offense based on the games since Arkansas, Nick Saban emphasized Wednesday.

"We've been a little bit left-handed ever since Bryce (Young) got hurt in the Arkansas game," Saban said. "He basically hadn’t been able to practice for however many weeks, three weeks."

Dealing with the shoulder injury he sustained against Arkansas on Oct. 1, Young missed the Texas A&M game before returning to face Tennessee and Mississippi State.

"Hopefully, Bryce getting a week off here now will really help him get back healthy." Saban said after Mississippi State.

The open week was needed for several Alabama players, but Young was at the top of the list. It has allowed him to return to practice as No. 6 Alabama (7-1, 4-1 SEC) prepares to face No. 17 LSU (6-2, 4-1) on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN) at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. Alabama is going to need him as close to full strength as possible moving forward if its going to win out and make the College Football Playoff.

LSU:Brian Kelly joined LSU to beat Alabama football's Nick Saban. Can Kelly win in Year 1?

ELI RICKS:Why Alabama football's Eli Ricks proved he deserves to be starting corner moving forward

"I think kind of that rest and recovery period has been really beneficial for me," Young said Monday. "I feel better every day and that credit really goes to the training staff. They’ve done a great job of managing everything, having a plan for me since I first got here until now and still working with them."

He might not have been full strength, but Young still had plenty of success when he returned.

Against Tennessee, Young threw for 455 yards and two touchdowns. Against Mississippi State, he completed 21 of 35 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. All after not practicing, which is why Saban emphasized waiting to pass judgment on the offense as a whole.

"It’s not really fair to see how we’ve sort of developed offensively because probably the most important guy on the team, any team, is the quarterback," Saban said. "And most importantly on our team because of the quality of player Bryce is. We’ve been a little bit out of sorts."