Alabama football will have a really interesting decision to make at quarterback this summer, once practice gets underway. Veteran Mac Jones, who looked very good stepping in for the injured Tua Tagovailoa, will look to beat out Bryce Young, the top freshman quarterback in the country.
Historically, Saban opts for the veteran player. He has been more open to taking bold moves in recent years, starting Jalen Hurts as a freshman years ago, and replacing him at halftime of the 2017 national championship game with Tua Tagovailoa. That could work in Young's favor, if he is clearly the more talented passer than Jones.
Taylor Kelly, Young's quarterbacks coach at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., believes he's ready to take the leap to the next level. He spoke to 247Sports about the development that Young has already had, after just a few months in Tuscaloosa this winter.
“When he first came back, just how much weight that he’s put on, I saw it instantly,” Kelly said. "When he told me 20 pounds, it was crazy, and it was good weight. It wasn’t bad. His upper body was bigger, and I think the biggest thing is that where he put it on is also in his lower half. That’s one of the things that he needed to do is to get stronger in his lower half so he’s able to withstand a full collegiate year with some hits and movements."
Kelly says that even with the added weight, Bryce Young doesn't feel any slower and seems to be acquitting himself well. With his increasing physicality, and innate leadership skills, Kelly believes that Young will be ready to play right away by the fall.
“He’s ready, mentally and physically,” Kelly said.
“The biggest thing for him is just going to be getting a real feel of the speed of the front seven at the collegiate level, and that just takes reps. He’s played against top talent in high school the last two years, and he’s played extremely well. But it’s just a little different with somebody who’s been doing it for 3-4 years, and you’ve got a bunch of those guys on the field. Just to get a feel for all that, I think that’s the one thing that’s going to challenge him a little bit.
“From a mental standpoint, he’s more than ready, as far as understanding the plays and the coverages and the fronts and applying those plays out on the field in practices. All that stuff, he’s really, really good at and prepared for. I think the biggest thing is just the timing with some of the guys and then getting a feel for the speed of the front seven guys at that next level.”
Hopefully, barring any major setbacks, Bryce Young will be able to get back to Tuscaloosa and we'll get a high quality Alabama quarterback battle throughout the summer.
Alabama is scheduled to open the season with a big game against USC at AT&T Stadium in North Texas.