Bryce Young The Master of The Scramble Drill on Homecoming Weekend
On an evening which the Alabama offense was a bit inconsistent, one aspect remained true, Bryce Young's wizardry at the quarterback was on full display.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner served as the engine behind the Crimson Tide's effort to stay on the path to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta.
Young finished his night 21-of-35 for 249 yards and two touchdowns while being sacked two times and facing six quarterback hurries from the Mississippi State defense.
It was Young's ability to maneuver in the pocket, keeping plays alive, that mad it challenging for the State defenders to stay with the Crimson Tide receivers throughout the course of play.
"Well I thought Mississippi State did a good job mixing up their pressures, dropping eight guys and I thought the receivers did a really good job in a couple scramble situations, which turned out to be a couple big plays, probably the only explosive plays we really had came off those types of plays," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban in post game.
I think our receivers are making progress I think they're playing better and I think it's important that they continue to improve, because when you have a guy like Bryce you want to be able to take advantage of his talent and receivers doing a good job can certainly contribute to that to a large degree."
Young's first touchdown toss, a 31-yard strike to JoJo Earle, came off the scramble drill as the magical quarterback moved in the pocket until finally directing the sophomore from the left side of the field back to the right and found him in the endzone.
"It was another eight-drop look. The line did a great job of giving me time and being able to allow me to create. JoJo broke off his route and was working back with me with the scramble drill, he did a great job with that. I'm just trying to buy time to let our receivers get more open and whenever I do, they do a great job with that. He did a good job breaking off his route and I just found him in the endzone," said Young.
In fact his second touchdown, two drives later, came on a scramble drill as well. Young rolled to his right and Traeshon Holden broke his route off and changed directions back to the right. The California native hit him in the back of the endzone for his 18th scoring strike of the season.
When plays are extended, as they often were on Saturday night, it can create challenges for the Alabama offensive line. Young's shown great ability to spin and maneuver in the pocket to keep plays alive in order to distribute the ball down the field.
"I try to just mirror my movements off the defender's movement. If I feel like the defender is going inside, I'm assuming Bryce is also stepping up in the pocket. If he's going outside, I'm assuming Bryce is leaving. I just try to handle my technique as best I can but I really try not to look behind me because as soon as I look behind me a defender might slip away," said right tackle JC Latham.
The Crimson Tide is extremely fortunate to have Young at the helm, especially on an evening which it mustered 44 rushing yards (sack adjusted). Without his special ability to direct traffic and find the open men down the field the outcome could have turned out a lot different on this homecoming weekend.
"For me it's just trying to remain a passer and make the things happen. The receivers do a great job in scramble drill, they run their initial route, they see me move and do a great job of getting open," said Young.