Saban Again Highlights Offensive Inconsistencies
Plenty of questions surround an offense returning just three starters and taking on two top-15 teams in the first three weeks of the season. Especially when the quarterback is making his first start on Sept.4 in Atlanta against the No. 14 Miami Hurricanes.
As such, there's little surprise that head coach Nick Saban was asked about his sophomore QB, Bryce Young 10 days away from kickoff in Mercedes Benz Stadium.
A 5-star dual-threat from California, it's equally unsurprising that Saban is pleased with the performance and maturity of his new starter.
"Bryce has a really good knowledge of the offense," Saban said Wednesday afternoon after a fully padded practice. "He’s a really bright guy. He makes good choices and decisions. He has a really good feel in the pocket. And he’s played really, really well."
Par for the course, right.
But this isn't the first time Saban has praised his young signal-caller. It's also not the first time he's called for more consistency from his supporting cast in the offense.
"We want to continue to try to develop the kind of timing in the passing game that we need with the new receivers, with the people in the passing game to do the little things right so we can be a little more accurate, a little more consistent. But I think that’s a combination not just of the thrower but also of the route-runner because you’re expecting him to do one thing and he does something else...
"We just got to get the people around him to play a little better on a more consistent basis," Saban said as he closed his comments on Young.
We've heard this comment a few times from Saban over the past few weeks, and it appears the offense's early struggles in becoming a cohesive unit are from the pass catchers, not the inexperienced quarterback.
Alabama's primary receiving weapons are John Metchie III, Slade Bolden and Jahleel Billingsley, who appears to be in the dog house as of late. Newcomers to the playing rotation are Javon Baker, Jameson Williams and Cameron Latu, who Saban didn't display the utmost confidence in Wednesday evening. Mixed in will likely be freshmen Agiye Hall and JoJo Earle.
Metchie is a nationally respected receiver, while Billingsley is highly thought of in draft scouting circles. Even though Billingsley is working his way back up the depth chart, he's reliable on the field. Bolden is regarded as a leader on the team.
As for the newcomers, Jameson Williams has been lauded for his speed by Saban and hinted at being a "feature" weapon in the offense. The rest are relatively unknown commodities.
There's no point in speculating where the issues lie, but the window between training camp and the start of the regular season is coming to a quick close soon. Talent-wise, Alabama is superior to every opponent on the 2021 schedule, but the team still has to execute confidently and consistently.
"The season is going to create tremendous challenges," Saban said in his opening comments. "Challenges in every game. We’ve got lots of losable games that we play, lots of challenges out there whether we’re playing home or on the road and you’ve got to have the resiliency to be able to overcome difficult circumstances."
There's confidence to believe that with eight practices between Wednesday's comments and the season opener against Miami that level of consistency can be found. The questions surrounding this offense in 2021 will just have to continue until the product is on the field.