Alabama football begins its quest for a storied eighteenth national championship Saturday afternoon. Head coach Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs present a possible hurdle for the Crimson Tide, quarterback Justin Fields.
Georgia commences its revenge tour Saturday against Alabama football. However, unlike Michigan’s failed attempt, the Dawgs are hoping for a victory. Saban versus Smart Part Deux.
One X-factor for Georgia is their freshman quarterback. Smart had limited film on Tagovailoa heading into last year’s championship game, Saban encounters the same dilemma with Fields.
Justin Fields arrived in Athens as Kirby’s biggest recruit in the Class of 2018. Hailing from Kennesaw, Georgia, the Elite 11 MVP was the number one dual threat QB in the nation. Projected to give Jake Fromm a run for his money during spring and fall camp, Fields delivered. Nonetheless, Kirby’s decision to stick with the seasoned Fromm as his starter and bring Fields off the bench reverberated throughout Athens.
Kirby and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney have used Fields sparingly, only 168 snaps. The freshman completed 27 of 38 passes for 328 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Fields rushed for 260 yards and four touchdowns, also. Rumors are circulating that the talented Fields could transfer after the season.
Controlling Fields’ unique running ability
“Well, he’s certainly got an outstanding skill set. I mean, the guy is a very athletic guy. He’s a good runner, but he also has a capacity to make any throw that he needs to make. He’s got a strong arm, and he’s fairly accurate and a very athletic guy in the pocket.
The element that Fields brings to the Georgia offense is a quarterback that can make plays with his arms and legs. Alabama football has a history of being challenged by mobile quarterbacks such as Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel and Deshaun Watson.
The use of Fields remind fans how Florida utilized the dynamic duo of Chris Leak and Tim Tebow to win a national championship. Do not look for Fields to lead the Bulldogs down the field for a score. Smart inserts him into the game for goal line and short down and distance.
Against ranked teams, Fields attempted only one pass for eight yards. Facing SEC foes, Justin is 7 for 11 for 86 yards plus 86 yards rushing. Against LSU, he finished with one carry for three yards. A non-factor because the game was out of hand. Facing Auburn, Fields completed two passes for 20 yards and had five rushes for -13 yards. Whenever he entered, the defense expected a run play.
Linebackers Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses need to maintain strict eye discipline with Fields in the redzone. The possibility of Chaney incorporating new goal line packages is immense further adding another wrinkle the Crimson Tide needs to prepare for.
If the game is close, expect Fields to have a significant role in the game. If the game is a blowout early, the game will fall on sophomore Fromm to win against a rabid Alabama defense.
Justin Fields could be a game-changer for the Bulldogs. No doubt, the Crimson Tide has plans to adjust its defense accordingly.