ATLANTA — The final one out of a jubilant Alabama locker room, Nick Saban walked slowly out of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium hall nodding his head like a proud father.
Happy with his soccer crew. Happy with the best way his soccer crew has fought to get thus far regardless of some un-Alabama-like moments this season. Happy with the best way his soccer crew has rallied round a sophomore quarterback who may as effectively have struck the Heisman Trophy pose on Saturday night time.
Even for Saban, it is easy to neglect generally that Younger is just a sophomore and solely in his first 12 months because the Crimson Tide’s beginning quarterback after taking part in backup to Mac Jones a 12 months in the past.
“He is very calm, has a fantastic disposition about what he is doing, does not get annoyed too simply, but in addition does not get too excited very simply,” Saban informed ESPN. “That is a uncommon mixture, particularly for a man who’s in his first 12 months as a starter and taking part in in opposition to a protection pretty much as good as Georgia’s.
“However that is the best way he at all times is, and it does not actually matter who we’re taking part in or what the scenario is. The opposite factor is that he does a fantastic job making ready for the sport, each recreation, and that is the sort of factor that wears off on everyone else. I feel you noticed that tonight.”
So did the remainder of the faculty soccer world, as Younger torched a Georgia protection that was regarded as untorchable. He handed for 421 yards and three touchdowns and likewise ran for a rating. His 461 yards of whole offense set an SEC championship recreation file.
Georgia coach Kirby Good was already a believer. However there’s one thing to be mentioned for watching a Heisman-like efficiency from the sideline and seeing any individual do to your protection what no person else had come near doing all season.
“Look, guys, I’ve seen a variety of good ones on this league. He is particular,” Good mentioned of Younger, who wasn’t sacked a single time on Saturday after being sacked seven occasions every week in the past in a 24-22 four-overtime win in opposition to Auburn.
And, positive, Good watched that tape, and Georgia did some various things to stress Younger. However little or no appeared to work, as Younger, his receivers and his offensive line obtained one of the best of a Georgia entrance seven that had been dominant in opposition to everyone this season.
“We known as a variety of the identical calls we known as the opposite video games,” mentioned Good, whose protection gave up 4 touchdowns to Alabama after permitting simply seven within the earlier 12 video games.
“We did not get dwelling or end on the quarterback, and he was elite at getting the ball to the playmakers. He knew the place to go together with the ball. He retains his eyes downfield with the frenzy, the place a variety of quarterbacks would not do this. They’d have a look at the frenzy and begin attempting to run away from the frenzy, and we may run ’em down. However tonight, he did an incredible job. He was cellular and made a variety of performs.”
However then, that is what Younger has carried out all season lengthy, be it his 28-yard landing go to Ja’Corey Brooks to pressure additional time in opposition to Auburn and even these occasions this season when Alabama was sputtering on offense and he did simply sufficient.
“It is by no means too large for him, and he simply has that manner about him that the opposite guys fall in line even after we’ve had our struggles,” Saban mentioned.
Younger, who has thrown 43 landing passes and simply 4 interceptions this season, was virtually nonchalant on Saturday when requested about something he had carried out to guide Alabama to its sixth SEC championship previously eight years. He was extra keen to speak about his teammates.
“I feel all of us stepped up, and all of us answered the bell,” Younger mentioned. “All of us understood what was at stake. All of us understood that we would have liked to step up. So, I am blessed to have the teammates that I do, that when our again’s sort of in opposition to the wall, we perceive … we have to get our spark and begin shifting.
“I am completely satisfied we began getting going after we did.”
Younger spearheaded a 24-point second quarter for the Crimson Tide with one large play after one other, whether or not he was hitting deep balls with pinpoint precision, scrambling and making performs along with his legs and even flipping possibility pitches to Brian Robinson Jr. within the open subject.
“He is grown loads and has a knack for making these performs, however what’s actually spectacular is that he isn’t careless and takes care of the soccer,” Saban mentioned.
Even when Younger did fumble the ball as soon as on Saturday after taking off and working, he was capable of wrestle it again from a Georgia defender. Younger additionally misplaced certainly one of his high receivers, John Metchie III, within the first half to what Alabama officers concern is a torn ACL. But it surely did not actually matter. Jameson Williams completed with seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
Alabama carved aside the Georgia secondary with large performs, and Saban mentioned a big a part of the credit score goes to an offensive line that took it on the chin every week in the past and got here again with one thing to show.
“It nonetheless goes again to the offensive line did a really, superb job of permitting us to get the ball down the sphere and our receivers having the ability to work within the passing recreation, which we knew was going to be one thing that was actually essential on this recreation,” Saban mentioned. “So it actually began up entrance.”
One longtime defensive coordinator informed ESPN that the best way Alabama put Younger able to seek out the holes in Georgia’s protection was one thing no person else had been capable of do to the Dawgs this season.
“Doug Marrone (offensive line coach) and Invoice O’Brien (offensive coordinator) confirmed their worth tonight, the worth of getting NFL expertise,” the defensive coordinator mentioned. “They knew the place the blitz was coming from, re-identified safety and blocked the pressures.
“(Younger) has been taught effectively. When Georgia lined up, he knew the place the matchups have been and attacked Georgia the best way no person else had this 12 months.”
And whereas the remainder of the nation won’t have seen Alabama’s beatdown of Georgia coming, Younger did not sound too shocked about it.
“As a participant, we at all times have religion and confidence within the teaching employees,” Younger mentioned. “So for us, I do not suppose we ever actually blinked or wavered.”
With Metchie injured, Alabama needed to dive deeper into its depth chart, particularly at receiver, and can have to take action once more through the Faculty Soccer Playoff with Metchie misplaced for the season.
However as Saban identified, therein lies the added worth of getting a participant like Younger who makes everyone else round him higher.
“… An excellent quarterback could make receivers look good, and people guys must run good routes and do issues the fitting strategy to get open,” Saban mentioned. “However I feel his religion, belief, and confidence in these guys have helped their growth tremendously.”
And the best way Younger has developed, one of the best could also be but to return this season for Alabama.
To not point out the primary Heisman Trophy for an Alabama quarerback.