Last Saturday in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the collective breath of all Alabama fans was put to the test. Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young suffered a sprained AC joint near the shoulder area and is considered day-to-day.
At the time of Young’s injury, former two-time national championship winning Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron told everyone not to fret as he described exactly what he felt the injury was and the severity of it. He also revealed that he’d dealt with that type of injury a handful of times himself. And guess what? He was dead on.
That fall from Bryce Young with his arm extended is 100% AC Joint and Labrum! I injured mine twice the exact same way extending my arm for the Goal line against Tenn my Senior Yr and of all teams Arkansas my first year starting!
— AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron) October 1, 2022
Next Man Up. Roll Tide!
When Young went down, Alabama led 14-0 and was driving to take an even bigger lead. While many other programs in the country would’ve panicked, not the Crimson Tide, who recruit at the highest of levels. Enter true sophomore, the impressively built Jalen Milroe. The four-star recruit in the class of 2021 is the fastest player on the team at 6 feet 2 and 215 pounds.
The youngster got his opportunity earlier than expected and didn’t disappoint as the lead grew to as big as 28-0 before special teams mistakes and boneheaded penalties helped the Razorbacks score 23 consecutive points to pull within 28-23. While most backup quarterbacks playing in front of 76,000 fans who want you to fail would panic, Milroe channeled his inner Bryce Young and on third-and-15 broke a 77-yard run to set up a touchdown by running back Jase McClellan. Ice.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) October 1, 2022
Following the game, head coach Nick Saban had this to say about Milroe, who rushed for 91 and passed for 65 tallying two total touchdowns in his debut appearance:
“There are things that Jalen Milfore does well. If he has to play, we’ll practice him more. I thought he did a good job of managing the game today.”
Should Alabama Be Confident Going Forward Without Young?
Young’s injury comes at a precarious time in the Crimson Tide’s schedule, with the underachieving-but-talented Texas A&M Aggies coming to Tuscaloosa on Saturday. It’s a rematch of last year’s chippy contest won by the Aggies in a 41-38 upset.
Things in the rivalry went way south this offseason when Saban accused Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher, his former offensive coordinator, of buying his top-ranked recruiting class, which featured a record eight five stars, with NIL money. Then it’s on to Tennessee which has one of the best offenses in the country.
The Crimson Tide can beat both the Aggies and Volunteers without Young, but it’ll be much easier to defeat the Aggies in Bryant-Denny Stadium versus winning on the road at Neyland Stadium.
Two reasons why Alabama can win both games if Young needs more than a week to recover.
- The injury to Bryce Young forced pass-happy offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to get back to old school Alabama football, which is smash-mouth football. Starting tailback Jahmyr Gibbs finished Saturday’s game with 206 yards rushing on 18 carries, including two touchdown runs of 70 yards-plus on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter to blow the game open against Arkansas again. The team also trusts Milroe. He was dynamic in the spring game and again in relief against a ranked SEC foe.
2. The defense has been dynamite with true freshman defensive tackle Jaheim Oatis looking like the second coming of former Tide star Quinnen Williams. ’Bama is back to stuffing the run and making teams one-dimensional, which allows Heisman candidate Will Anderson to tee off from the edge. A savvy linebacker and secondary group give Saban much confidence in playing Milroe if need be.
Nothing Comes Easy In SEC: ’Bama Will Be Fine Until Young Is Fully Healthy
Nothing comes easy in the SEC, but it helps to have the best coach in the sport and loads of talent everywhere. Yes, they need Bryce Young to win a national championship, but Milroe could give the Tide another offense to throw at teams going forward even when Young does return.
Don’t stress for Alabama. They’re still loaded.
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