Crimson Tide To Watch

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Crimson Tide To Watch

TUA TAGOVAILOA
Tua Tagovailoa
(Photo: Alabama Athletics)

 
 
TUA TAGOVAILOA (QB, #13)
 
The guy who came off the bench to start the second half in last year’s national championship game and then throw the winning touchdown pass in overtime to enable the Crimson Tide to defeat the Bulldogs 26-23 has evolved into the nation’s top quarterback in this, his sophomore season at Alabama. Tua has thrown for 3,000-plus yards, more than 30 touchdowns and has completed close to 70 percent of his passing attempts. The 6-1, 218-pound native of Hawaii is a true dual-threat quarterback who can also make things happen with his legs and escape the pass rush to put the ball on the money downfield. The Georgia defense simply must get Tua out of his normal rhythm, if the Dawgs are to have any chances of the upset.
 
 
JERRY JEUDY (WR, #4)
 
Tagovailoa throws to one of the nation’s leading receivers in Jeudy, a 6-1, 192-pound sophomore who has soared over the 1,000-yard mark in receptions this season and averages nearly 20 yards per catch. Jeudy has burned opposing secondaries the season long with his speed and catching ability; thus, the major challenge awaiting Deandre Baker, J.R. Reed and the rest of the Bulldog defensive backfield in defending the Tide’s explosive No. 4 on Saturday.
 
 
QUINNEN WILLIAMS (DT, #92)
 
While Jonah Williams leads the Tide offensive front, Quinnen Williams (no relation) is a true force for the Alabama defensive line. Just a redshirt sophomore, the 6-4, 295-pounder has wreaked havoc with opposing offenses all season and is second in the SEC in tackles-for-loss while also being in the top 10 in quarterback sacks. A finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award, Williams is also a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Outland Trophy … enough said!
 
 
NAJEE HARRIS (RB, #22)
 
A close second on Alabama’s rushing list to senior leader Damien Harris (#34), Najee Harris (no relation) averages right at 7.0 yards per carry and was the running back that hurt Georgia the most in the 2017 national championship game, rushing for a team-leading 65 yards on only six carries. Like star ‘Bama tackle Jonah Williams, Harris is a California product who runs with both power and quickness. The Tide is three deep in quality running backs with the two Harris’s and also third-leading rusher Josh Jacobs (#8), who will take the direct snap in the Wildcat formation, which he did against both LSU and Mississippi State and promptly ran for a first down both times.
 
 
JONAH WILLIAMS (OT, #73)
 
Williams, at left tackle, is Alabama’s tower of power in the offensive line. A 6-5, 301-pound junior, Williams was named First Team All-SEC as well as Second Team All-America last year as a sophomore and is excellent at both run blocking and pass protection for the Tide. He’s another of ‘Bama’s all-star candidates, named to the Outland Trophy Watch List, and must be dealt with by Georgia’s defensive front inside Mercedes-Benz in the SEC title showdown.
 
 
MIKE LOCKSLEY (Offensive Coordinator)
 
Becoming the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator in February of this year, Locksley has transformed the Alabama offense into one of the nation’s most explosive units, one that led the SEC with a 48.7 scoring average (prior to Auburn game), and also ranked 3rd in the nation. Locksley, formerly interim head coach and offensive coordinator at Maryland, has also been instrumental in helping QB Tua Tagovailoa develop into a front runner for the 2018 Heisman Trophy. Certainly, UGA defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will have his hands full in attempting to slow down Locksley’s prolific Tide attack.
 
 
 
 

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.