Alabama football: 5 questions the Crimson Tide must answer in 2020

Najee Harris of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Najee Harris of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Alabama football (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Alabama football (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

4. How much will the Alabama football offense change without Tua?

Tua Tagovailoa taking over the Alabama offense signaled a distinct change in offensive approach for the Crimson Tide under Saban. In the 2017 season when Jalen Hurts was the starter, Alabama’s offense averaged only 23.8 passing attempts per game. That ballooned to 29.2 attempts in 2018 and then 31.2 attempts per game last season.

Part of the reason for that was Tua but it was also due to having perhaps one of the best college wide receiver groups in the history of the sport. Though Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III are gone, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle remain and could still be elite pass-catching weapons. But one has to wonder how much the offense will change with Jones and Young taking over.

In the final two games of the season against Auburn and then in the Citrus Bowl against Michigan, Saban relied heavily on running back Najee Harris to carry the offense. After having 20+ carries in only two previous outings, he carried the ball a combined 51 times over those two games. Not for nothing, he emerged as a star with 282 yards and three scores in those games as well.

Given the inexperience of both Jones and Young, it’s hard to imagine that we won’t see the Crimson Tide rely more heavily on Harris and the rushing attack than they have over the last two years. That isn’t necessarily an indictment on the quarterback spot as they will surely take shots down the field to their star wide receivers but it is to say that Harris is the more certain and proven commodity to lead the offense.