TUSCALOOSA — A slow start, both in pace of play and quality of play, was not enough to knock Alabama off its warpath to the playoffs. The Crimson Tide beat Kentucky 63-3 on Saturday.
1. Alabama can live without Miller Forristall: The senior has received praise from all corners of the program lately for his development into a more well-rounded tight end. His playing time has reflected that.
On Saturday, he was in pads and warmed up, but rarely, if ever, on the field for a snap. The reasons for that are currently unknown, but a sophomore made the most of the chase.
Jahleel Billingsley caught three passes for 78 yards in Forristall’s absence. Kendall Randolph and Carl Tucker contributed some respectable blocking, but Billingsley was the only one used as a receiving threat with any regularity.
Should Alabama have to live without Forristall in future games — and when it has to next year and beyond — UA has at least one option who can make an impact as a pass catcher.
2. Mac Jones got a little rusty in the break: Part of Jones’ surge in the Heisman Trophy race was his efficiency. Entering Saturday, he was completing 78.5% of his passes and averaging 12.4 yards per attempt. Among quarterbacks with more than three games played, he led the nation in both.
Two weekends away left Jones less than perfect against the Wildcats, and with some luck in his favor. He threw an interception, and nearly had another in the first half, saved by a drop. One of his touchdown passes was an impressive catch in traffic by DeVonta Smith.
A rusty Jones is still better than most teams have at the quarterback position — 16-for-24 for 230 yards and two touchdowns — but it’s not up to his norm.
3. Alabama has its punter in Charlie Scott: Punting has been an adventure for Alabama since JK Scott left after the 2017 season. His younger brother walking on may be the short-term fix.
After an experiment with Sam Johnson to start the season, Charlie Scott took over and turned in another impressive performance against Kentucky with punts of 51 and 41 yards. It’s far from elite punting on a conference or national level, but it’s more than enough to improve a team that doesn’t do much punting anyway.