Young is The Future, Not the Present
It's here. Football is here.
This weekend kicked off high school football across the state and most of the country. NFL squads are in a modified training camp, just two and a half weeks away from the kickoff to the 2020 NFL season. Though we are just over 30 days from the SEC's return to play, Alabama fans are treated almost daily to practice highlights the program is gracious enough to give.
So we get a video like this across our timelines.
First, understand that I am overwhelmingly excited for Bryce Young. He has the poise and ability to lead this team to more championships. This video showcases just that. Tight, high release with velocity and pinpoint accuracy. All while managing to have fun with the routine and stand tall and confident next to his teammate and competitor, Mac Jones.
He is the future, just as BamaInsider.com suggested in its tweet Saturday evening.
But he is not the present.
I have seen, just as you may have, some expectation from Crimson Tide fans that Bryce Young will win the job from Mac Jones with ease. A lot of fans remember the 14 points Auburn took off the arm of Jones. That's fair.
But there are two key reasons Young will not take lead at quarterback in 2020.
The first is, unfortunately, the effects of the pandemic. Young enrolled early to join his team and get a kickstart with his new team, only to get to Tuscaloosa and have no Spring practice. Sure, Young almost definitely studied his playbook and hit routes with his receivers when the opportunity arose over the past six or seven months.
That is miles away from being on the field with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian and Nick Saban. That is far away from running the plays in the playbook at D-1 speed.
The second barrier is Mac Jones himself. No, Jones wasn't the next Tua Tagovailoa when he took over for the newest Miami Dolphin in 2019. But he was everything this team could ask for in relief with the exception of two throws. Two throws out of 141.
His performance against Michigan goes largely unnoticed. Remember the first play from scrimmage for the Crimson Tide in the Citrus Bowl?
Jones had three touchdowns, 324 yards and completed 64% of his passes the last time we saw him. He played in every game last year and totaled 14 touchdowns to 3 picks on 1503 yards and a 68.8% completion percentage. He threw at least three touchdowns in each game he started.
This may all sound rather meh on a grander scale, but in perspective, Jones was exactly what you look for in a backup in 2019.
Watch that practice clip again and watch Mac Jones instead.
It is but one rep. But Jones is practicing more than throwing a routine dig route. He's looking off the safety in his head and going through a progression based on where that dig route would fit in a given play.
He's working on his footwork and delivery. He throws a tighter spiral to boot.
Jones has the experience advantage.
This is not a drag on Young. Again, I'm excited to see him, and under normal circumstances, I'd think he'd have a real shot of winning the job outright.
Young will play plenty this year, and not just in clean up duty. But we need to pump the brakes on the idea that he will take the job from Jones outright.
When we do see Young on the field this season, he'll no doubt give us more reason to be excited. Just keep in mind: Bryce Young is the future of the team, not the present.