Jalen Milroe has been named the starting quarterback for Alabama for their SEC opener against Ole Miss from Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 23, and the reason why was because the redshirt sophomore showed the necessary leadership while benched against USF during an eventual 17-3 win on September 16 in Tampa. Milroe completed just over 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions in the Crimson Tide’s 34-24 Week 2 loss to Texas on September 9, and so Nick Saban decided to give Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson a try under center.
Neither earned the job through their play, with Buchner going 5/14 for just 34 yards and Simpson going 5/9 for 73 yards, but Milroe was cheering for his teammates on the sidelines and was genuinely happy for his teammates; despite them being his competition — and that got him the nod moving forward.
Is it possible Saban benched Milroe, his preferred QB1 choice due to his previous SEC experience, to prove a point to offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, whose former Notre Dame QB Buchner struggled so mightily?
Saturday Down South’s Chris Marler thinks so, and he called Saban a “diabolical a-hole” and told the 71-year-old head coach that he loves him in the same breath because of it.
“Saban sent the whole damn fanbase into turmoil with that s*** show in Tampa all to prove a point,” Marler prefaced before saying, “You diabolical a hole. I love you.”
Nick Saban on Jalen Milroe: Played Best of Any Alabama QB
Saban didn’t allude to any secret trial-by-fire starting quarterback tryouts between Milroe, Buchner, and Simpson the past several weeks, but he did say with certainty that Milroe played the best of any Alabama QB through the first three weeks of the season.
“Jalen really showed the leadership that I was looking for during the game in terms of supporting his teammates and doing the things he needed to do,” Saban said. “He’s had the opportunity to play. So have the other guys. Jalen played the best of all those guys.”
Linebacker Deontae Lawson was excited by the prospect of Milroe being the Crimson Tide’s on-field leader offensively.
“I came in with Jalen, so I know what kind of player he is and what kind of person he is,” Lawson said (h/t Tuscaloosanews.com). “It definitely gives me a great spirit.”
Jalen Milroe ‘Should’ve Never Been Benched’ by Alabama
CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee doesn’t think Milroe should have ever been benched by Alabama for Buchner, Simpson, or anyone else; believing that the program did the Katy, Texas product a disservice by not trying to build the offense around him.
“Milroe should never have been benched,” Sallee prefaced before saying, “Poor offensive line play is part of the identity of the Crimson Tide program at this point. It’s clear now that Saban and the offensive staff, including offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, tried to force their best quarterback option to be something he’s not rather than develop an offense that accentuates his strengths.”
Sallee doesn’t necessarily see Milroe as a good option but as the best of the bunch.
“There are no good options, only sub-optional ones,” Sallee prefaced before saying, “Milroe is the best of those options this week against Ole Miss and moving forward.”
Andrew Hughes is a sports reporter covering college football for Heavy.com, focusing on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Andrew has also written for FanSided and Gambling.com. He is based in Birmingham, Alabama. More about Andrew Hughes
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