College football spring games: Alabama struggles up front, Ohio State poised to stay dominant in attack

The biggest day of the spring season in college football was held on Saturday, with defending champion Georgia, SEC champions Alabama, Big Ten Power or Ohio State, and Mario Cristobal’s Miami Hurricanes among some of the notable teams taking to the stage to present the spring games. annual. .

These springtime brawls give teams a great opportunity to get an idea of ​​how coaches display their depth charts and where the juniors fit in during the middle of vacation. So, what are the biggest points from Saturday’s roster that happen to have some legitimate contenders in the National Championship? lets take alook.

Alabama

Crimson Tide needs some help in advance: The clock for the spring game in Alabama seems to be moving faster than real time, but there was enough time to see head coach Nick Saban’s offensive line need a lot of help. The first team struggled to give quarterback Bryce Young time in the pocket and couldn’t consistently open holes for running backs — including Georgia Tech Jahmyr Gibbs. Edge Threat Will Anderson was particularly intimidating, facing Young for “hands-on” sacks twice in three plays late in the first half.

Let’s get this out of the way: It’s irresponsible to make early judgments on a team during the spring. But for Alabama, that may not be the case. Young was forced out of the pocket in exactly the same way last spring, and that translated into the fall when the offensive line finished last in the SEC in stopping for a loss. Saban likes to have a reason to shout at his players in order to create a culture of tournament-wide competition, and his offensive line gave him that ammunition on Saturday.

Ohio State

Buckeyes recipe for success: Two of the biggest questions facing the Buckeyes are the quest to replace receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson abroad and the defensive renaissance that new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is looking to coordinate. Well, they’ll be fine in the wide receiver. Superstar Jackson Smith-Nigegba picked up two passes for 38 yards and a touchdown, but the real story was behind him where the others shined. Emeka Egbuka had four grabs for 39 yards, Marvin Harrison Jr. had an obstacle and seemed comfortable with the first team attack, and Evan Pryor’s escape seemed like a multidimensional force to be reckoned with.

Defense had its ups and downs, but there was no reason to be afraid. Yes, it should improve from last year’s lineup, but Knowles said before the game that he would be vanilla on purpose and not cause a stir in the middle. Attacking is the driving force in college football, and Ohio State appears to be on track to continue its dominance. If the defense plays appropriately, the Buckeyes will be fine.

Georgia

Beware of narrow ends: Tight ends have become a much larger part of college football offenses over the past decade, and Georgia may have the best tight end room in college football history. Eric Gilbert secured the LSU transfer with two touchdown passes from Stetson Bennett IV after stepping away from the program during the 2021 season. The 6-foot-5, 248-pound eccentric athlete had 35 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers in 2020, a competitive nightmare between opposing defenses. Tight ends fellow Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington sat outside the G-Day Game but they’ve already proven just how dangerous it can be.

When you throw these tight ends into the mix with a versatile Georgia team and wide receiving leg, this offense should be much better and more balanced than last season. In other words…”Prepare the popcorn.”

Miami

Tyler Van Dyck will be a clerk: The signal caller in Miami took charge of the D’Eriq King last season at Coral Gables and set the tone for what could be a massive sophomore season. Van Dyck was 20 of 32 for 172 yards and a touchdown to Jacoby George. It’s a great day if you look at the result of the box, but it was better if you watched it on TV. Van Dyck threw in an absolute first-half three cents that were dropped by Hurricane’s wide receivers, skewing his stats in a negative direction. It was so bad early on that boos could be heard at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Miami is a process in progress, which is understandable considering that it’s Mario Cristóbal’s first season as a coach at his alma mater. But the progress the Legion Wide showed in the spring game alone is encouraging after just 15 rehearsals. With Van Dyck at the helm, things should be fine.

CBS Sports has been live throughout the afternoon providing updates, highlights and analysis from Saturday’s Spring Games, which you can view below.