Alabama true freshman quarterback Bryce Young was going over the practice script in his dorm room with some of his fellow 2020 classmates before the Crimson Tide’s spring football season was suspended because of the novel coronavirus pandemic on Friday, March 13.
Roughly two hours after the final team meeting, Young was at the airport to return to his native California and has been there since. Alabama’s players will be able to return to Tuscaloosa on June 8 after the SEC voted to allow teams to resume voluntary in-person workouts.
But what have the last two months been like for the former 5-star prospect? His father, Craig Young, spoke with 247Sports’ The College Football Daily podcast to discuss that.
“It’s pretty regimented, to be honest with you, and that’s a credit obviously to Alabama,” Craig Young said. “One of the reasons why we’re there, why we chose it is because Alabama’s great at this stuff — organization, having a plan, being very measured and calculated and calm, and I think that starts with Coach (Nick) Saban. … He would get up in the morning — and obviously, during that time, he still had school — so he would do his online classes. Then he would go through his playbook because they have an iPad and he had some plays in a binder, as well.
“Initially, you were allowed to work out for as long as there weren’t more than 10 people, so he was able to work out with his quarterback coach. We have a good setup out here — he has a strength coach, he has a speed coach and he’s able to throw to some receivers — so we had that going on. But as the restrictions tightened up and it was stay-at-home, it became more and more difficult. But he was always able to work out. We were able to find a gym where he could work out by himself. We’re pretty close to a school, so he was able to do his running.
“And the new strength and conditioning coaches had sent over a plan. Also, he had bands. He had the infamous Apple Watch that everyone made a big deal about that Alabama gave, he had those for monitoring the workouts. I don’t think there’s a day where he hasn’t worked out. Obviously, he usually takes off Sunday, but he’s been at it, for the most part, six days a week in some form or fashion since he’s got here.”
The nation’s No. 1 overall recruit for the 2020 cycle, according to 247Sports, Young has been focused throughout this unprecedented time. But one of the biggest adjustments for his parents was feeding him after two and a half months of being away at college. Listed at 190 pounds on Alabama’s roster, Young gained 20 pounds of good weight, according to his father.
“Our grocery bill went up exponentially,” Craig Young said. “Just buying as much lean meat as we can. A lot of potatoes, a lot of rice, a lot of sweet potatoes, and then we got some protein shakes and stuff. So, he’s been doing a good job of maintaining the weight. But it’s been expensive. Sometimes you forget what a blessing a scholarship is. That was a big reminder.”
This fall, Young will compete with redshirt junior Mac Jones, who started four games a season ago when Tua Tagovailoa was injured, for the starting quarterback job. With the cancellation of spring practice, some believe that will help Jones and hinder Young, who has yet to experience a college practice. But his father’s expectations haven’t changed for the freshman.
“My expectations are for Bryce to compete, whatever form or fashion that may be,” Craig Young said. “Because when you send your young man to a university, you entrust in that position coach, that head coach to make the best decisions for the football team and then, by extension, for your son. My expectations are for Bryce to compete every second that he’s there — film room, on the field, off the field. And if you do those things and you show that you’re the player that we know that you are, everything will take care of itself.
“… Yes, those practices on the field were lost. However, being an early enrollee, the time he was there was invaluable. You got a chance to do all the involuntary workouts, you got a chance to do the strength and conditioning, you got a chance to acclimate to the university, you got a chance to have meetings with the coaches. And even in this time off, still having meetings, still know the playbook, still know the plays. So yes, missing those practices, we don’t want to minimize that, but also, all is not lost.
“And as a competitor, you can never come into a situation and say, ‘You know what, I didn’t have those practices, I’m done.’ No, what competitor thinks like that? A competitor, no matter what the situation, is competing, and you don’t ever go in there conceding anything.”
Contact Charlie Potter by personal message or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).