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A quarterback has to be confident in order to be successful. Really, any player who steps on a football field has to show confidence, but that gets taken to a whole new level at the most important position on the field.
With where the game is heading — on every level — the offense is going to be run through the quarterback. In most cases, teams live or die by that position, but at the very least, a team needs to get serviceable play from its signal caller.
Bryce Young didn’t get the opportunity to make an immediate impact in college. Though a five-star, top-ranked quarterback from Mater Dei High School in California, the freshman phenom spent his first season in Tuscaloosa holding a clipboard.
Now he’s expected to take over the starting duties after the departure of Mac Jones, and this will be his first opportunity to go through a normal offseason. The COVID-19 pandemic claimed any chance of that in 2020. So far, he’s completed the spring, and things are off to a good start.
Most importantly, spring ball has helped Young gain confidence. It has allowed the 6-foot, 194-pound gunslinger to grasp the offense, lead his teammates, and get valuable reps.
Young’s quarterback coach in high school, Taylor Kelly, now works as a QB instructor with 3DQB. He’s been working with Young twice a week for the last month or so, and recently spoke with BamaOnline about Young’s improvement.
“His arm looks strong while he’s been out here for the last month,” Kelly told BamaOnLine. “He’s looked fast, strong, and I see more of a confidence with him, just with the way he’s talking and talking about the summer program and how he’s excited to get back and get those player-run practices going and building his relationship with (Bill) O’Brien.
“There’s just a new confidence that I see about him versus when I saw him back in December — just a little, maybe, like unsure about what the next few months are gonna look like. Now that he’s gone through spring, I think he’s back to himself, and he’s ready to cut it loose.”
That confidence alone can go a long way.
Sure, there are other aspects of playing the position that make a difference. But if a QB’s confidence isn’t where it needs to be, then it’s difficult to lead and execute a successful offense.
Yes, he still has size limitations, but Young has every other quality one looks for in a star quarterback: decision-making abilities, leadership, mobility, a strong arm with a quick release and a whole lot more. Now he’s had time to sit behind a first-round talent and learn what it takes to master the mental aspect of playing in the SEC.
Is Young a finished product? No, but he’s way closer now than he’s ever been before. Don’t be surprised to see him take a sizable leap in Year 2, especially once he gets completely comfortable with O’Brien’s offensive style and approach.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.