TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — As expected, redshirt junior Mac Jones was officially named the University of Alabama's starting quarterback on Monday when the team's depth chart was released.
Senior wideout DeVonta Smith addressed the media via Zoom and vocalized the confidence he has in Jones heading into the season opener on Saturday night against Missouri.
"Yes, I believe in Mac the same way I believed in Tua [Tagovailoa]," Smith said. "As far as him being a leader, just when we come to the sideline after we take our reps and the things we talk about and what didn’t go right on the play or what we could have done better, the lets me know that he’s in for it and he’s ready to lead the team.”
As the clear-cut No. 1 target for Jones this year, Smith detailed what has gone into the building of their relationship.
“A lot of after hours," Smith said. "Not just me, but me, Mac, and the rest of us [receivers] recording a lot of after hours, getting the connections down, getting the timing down. He understands the importance of being the starting quarterback and the things he has to do. He’s come a very long way and I’m excited for him.”
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban went into what he saw from the Jacksonville, Fla., native from fall camp, to validate his selection.
"Mac has had a really good camp, really played well in the last scrimmage," Saban said on Monday. "Done a good job of taking a leadership role. I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence. I think our players have confidence in him. We’re pleased with his development. I think it’s important that Mac plays within himself, executes what we need him to execute in terms of distributing the ball and just do his job. I think the players around him know how important it is for them to do their job so the quarterback can function effectively. I think it’s going to be a combination of all the guys we have — because we do have some experienced players on offense that are very capable of doing things the right way, so it makes it a little easier for the quarterback.
"But I will say again: Our entire offensive group is going to get challenged by a very good defensive team."
In Jones's four starts in 2019, Smith caught three touchdowns and 16 passes for a total of 297 yards. The two are hoping to continue that winning combination in 2020.
"I think that those guys work well together," Saban said. "We had a lot of work this summer, where the receivers all worked with quarterbacks and they all improved and developed and for a long time we had a lot of stuff on air because we couldn't do things face-to-face. So I think, all those things contributed to those guys developing the kind of relationships and trust in one another that helps you have a very good passing game.
"So I think that having that kind of balance on offense will be really important for us and it's going to be important for all the receivers to play well but Smitty has been a guy that you can always depend on that you're going to get his best effort and he's going to go out there and play and compete like you really would like to see every player do."