Crimson Tide Might Be Better Positioned For LSU Game & College Football Playoffs
Concern, bordering on panic, made its way through Bryant-Denny Stadium during the Third Saturday of October.
Reports came filtering into the stands to people who were not able to get updates from watching the game on TV. He’s been taken to the hospital. The ankle is broken. Wait, he’s back on the sideline. It’s a high ankle sprain. He’ll be back for LSU. Whew!
As it turns out, star Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a high ankle sprain. Just like he did last year except on the other ankle. It is important to note that, unlike last year, the injury is not on his “plant” ankle. And while he’s out for this week’s game against Arkansas, here’s how that injury could actually help Alabama football.
For starters, Arkansas – 0-4 in the SEC and just 2-5 overall – provides little more than a scrimmage for the Tide. This will give backup Mac Jones (a highly-touted recruit when he signed with Alabama) a lot of needed experience. It’s a safety net; what would have happened if Tagovailoa got hurt against LSU, Auburn or championship/playoff games? It would not have been good.
Under this scenario, Jones will have extra valuable experience to step into any of those situations and have a working relationship with the team’s outstanding receivers, the running backs and the line.
It also gives more practice reps (and perhaps game reps if Arkansas is an early blowout) to Tua’s brother, Taulia. That’s extra quarterback insurance for Alabama and also gives him – and the Tide – some experience for next year. There’s also Paul Tyson, great grandson of Bear Bryant, who has yet to play this season, who may get a look from the coaches.
The injury also provides Alabama with the opportunity work on its run game, which could be critical in the upcoming games, especially in short-yardage and goal-line situations.
Alabama has a week off after Arkansas before facing LSU, so Tagovailoa should be able to be close to 100% for that game and Alabama fans will breathe a sigh of relief. They should also feel comfortable in knowing that the team may well be better suited for end of the season and the playoffs than they were before the injury.
They should actually have more concerns about that run and third-down defense than about Tagovailoa’s ankle.