Oct 8, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) warms up before a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Alabama QB Jalen Milroe to start opener

No. 4 Alabama will start Jalen Milroe at quarterback in Saturday’s season opener against visiting Middle Tennessee, ESPN reported Friday.

The redshirt sophomore won a competition to replace Bryce Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Milroe, 20, was battling Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner, redshirt freshman Ty Simpson and true freshman Dylan Lonergan.

He started for an injured Young in a 24-20 defeat of Texas A&M last year, passing for 111 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on Oct. 8. Overall, Milroe has completed 34 of 60 passes for 338 yards with six TDs and three picks while rushing for 320 yards and one score in 12 games.

ESPN’s report indicated that Milroe has not locked in the role for the season for the Crimson Tide, who will welcome No. 11 Texas to Tuscaloosa on Sept. 9.

–Field Level Media

No depth chart was released by Alabama on Monday, meaning quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) and others are still competing for their spots. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama coach Nick Saban: No depth chart, no distractions

For the first time in 17 seasons as Alabama head coach, Nick Saban ditched the depth chart.

The Crimson Tide coach said Monday there is no need for a formalized list of starters and their backups, otherwise known as the established and accepted depth chart.

Saban said his players “know who should start” as the program continues to resist naming a starting quarterback to replace No. 1 NFL draft pick Bryce Young.

“When we put a depth chart out you all think that’s final. Like this is like etched in stone,” Saban said.

“It creates a lot of distractions on our team with a lot of guys thinking, ‘Well, this guy won the job now and I’m not going to play.’ And quite frankly we don’t need that.”

The QB picture remains under wraps to the public, but Saban sounded like he could be closer to making the call by assessing the pecking order is “sort of taking shape.”

Saban also said starting one quarterback on Saturday against Middle Tennessee won’t close the door for others to take the top spot the following week against Texas.

Sophomore Jalen Milroe, redshirt freshman Ty Simpson, Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner and true freshman Dylan Lonergan are all still competing for quarterback reps.

“We’re going one day at a time,” Saban said.

–Field Level Media

Apr 22, 2023; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama head coach Nick Saban holds his grandson before the A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama lands commitment from top 2025 RB Anthony Rogers

Class of 2025 running back prospect Anthony Rogers committed to Alabama on Friday.

The four-star running back, an Alabama native, is now with IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He is ranked the No. 33 overall prospect in his class by 247Sports and No. 39 by ESPN.

The 247Sports composite rankings, meanwhile, peg Rogers as the eighth-best running back in the class.

Rogers, who’s listed at 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, chose the Crimson Tide over Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Oregon.

While it’s still early, Nick Saban and company have the second-ranked recruiting class for 2025, according to 247Sports, a group led by five-star wide receiver Ryan Williams.

–Field Level Media

Notre Dame's Michael Mayer and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees prior to Notre Dame Fall Practice on Friday, August 12, 2022, at Irish Athletics Center in South Bend, Indiana.

Ncaa Foorball 2022 Notre Dame Fall Practice

Reports: Alabama hires Tommy Rees as OC

Alabama is hiring Tommy Rees as its offensive coordinator, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Rees, most recently the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, will replace Bill O’Brien on coach Nick Saban’s staff. O’Brien left to become offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.

Saban turned his attention to Rees after reportedly being told by Ryan Grubb, the offensive coordinator of Washington, and Akron head coach Joe Moorhead that they weren’t interested.

Rees, 30, turned down an opportunity to join former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly at LSU when he left for Baton Rouge in late 2021. Rees remained OC on Marcus Freeman’s first-year staff in 2022.

Rees had preliminary discussions with Saban before boarding an Alabama Crimson Tide private plane on Thursday in South Bend, Ind., according to The Athletic.

The Irish ranked No. 60 in all of FBS in total offense in 2022 with 396.2 yards per game.

A former Notre Dame quarterback, Rees threw for 7,670 yards and 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions in 47 games from 2010-13. Rees joined Notre Dame’s staff as quarterbacks coach in 2017 before being elevated to offensive coordinator in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide kicker Will Reichard (16) kicks the game winning field goal at the end of the second half against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama K Will Reichard changes mind, to return in 2023

Alabama kicker Will Reichard announced Tuesday that he will return to the Crimson Tide for one more season rather than enter the 2023 NFL Draft.

Reichard had previously accepted an invite to play at the Senior Bowl, an indication he was going pro after four seasons at Alabama. The kicker was considered one of the top prospects at the position who could be available to NFL teams in April.

“After much prayer and guidance, I realized that I wasn’t ready to step away from Alabama football and the college experience,” Reichard wrote in a social media post. “I have decided to take advantage of my final year of eligibility and tee it up with my Crimson Tide teammates one more time in 2023.”

Reichard made 22 of 26 field-goal attempts and all 64 of his extra points in 2022. He made the game-winning field goal with 10 seconds left when Alabama beat Texas 20-19 and made two fourth-quarter field goals, the latter from 49 yards, to help Alabama beat Ole Miss 30-24.

In four seasons at Alabama, Reichard went 62-of-75 on field goals (82.7 percent) and 240-of-242 on extra points (99.2 percent).

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban prior to the game against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Five-star CB Desmond Ricks commits to Alabama

Florida five-star cornerback Desmond Ricks committed to Alabama on Thursday.

Ricks is the second-best cornerback in the Class of 2023, according to the 247Sports’ composite rankings. Playing for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Ricks is considered the sixth-best prospect coming out of Florida. He’s ranked the No. 23 overall recruit in the class.

The 6-foot-1 Ricks selected Alabama over Florida and LSU, among 36 offers.

Ricks recently reclassified from the Class of 2024, where he was ranked the No. 2 overall recruit.

Alabama currently has the No. 1 class for 2023, per 247Sports’ composite. Ricks is Bama’s seventh commitment from a 5-star recruit.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) drops back to pass as offensive lineman Tyler Steen (54) blocls against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 49-27. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama QB Bryce Young, LB Will Anderson to play in Sugar Bowl

Alabama coach Nick Saban confirmed to reporters Friday night that quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson will play in the Sugar Bowl on Dec. 31 rather than opt out to prepare for the NFL draft.

The Crimson Tide had no players opt out of the bowl game, according to Saban.

Young is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft, and Anderson, considered among the best defensive prospects available, is expected to be a high selection as well.

More players in recent years have chosen to sit out bowl games to protect their bodies and, in turn, their draft stock. Saban framed Young’s and Anderson’s decisions as team-first moves.

“I think it sets a great example for guys that respect their teammates,” Saban said, “want to be a part of their team, know the impact that they can make, the value that they can make, that they can create for themselves by playing well against good competition. I’m extremely proud of these guys. We’re gonna support them in every way that we can.”

Alabama (10-2) missed the SEC championship game and finished No. 5 in the College Football Playoff rankings, the first team out of the playoff field. The Crimson Tide will face Big 12 champion Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.

Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, has followed up a breakout season by completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,007 yards, 27 touchdowns and five interceptions thus far. Anderson, at one point considered the likely No. 1 draft pick in 2023, has tallied 51 tackles, 10 sacks and a pick-6 this season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin looks on during the second half against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

SEC foes Ole Miss, Alabama vie for win to keep hopes alive

The Southeastern Conference’s “Road to Atlanta” was supposed to reach a major intersection this week on the campus of Ole Miss, but one powerhouse school’s hopes of making the SEC Championship Game have diminished while the host school will a little need help, too.

On Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss., the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels will welcome the No. 9 Alabama Crimson Tide, with neither team having any margin for error if it wants to entertain the possibility of going to the conference title game in Atlanta.

Ole Miss (8-1, 4-1 SEC) lost 45-20 at LSU on Oct. 22, putting the squad in a must-win situation if it wanted to make this season even more special than last year’s 10-win regular season and Sugar Bowl appearance.

Now, the Rebels find themselves needing two situations to take place in order to make it to the SECCG on Dec. 3 — win out, and hope the No. 7 LSU Tigers, holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, fall at least once in one of their final two conference games at Arkansas or at Texas A&M.

So first, they have to take care of Alabama (7-2, 4-2), which fell 32-31 in dramatic fashion last Saturday night on the road at LSU’s “Death Valley.”

Rebels coach Lane Kiffin even reached out to a popular SEC college football host and urged him not to egg on Nick Saban even more. Falling on Saturday would mark the first time Alabama has lost back-to-back games since 2013.

“I texted (Paul) Finebaum on the way over here when I saw his quotes when he normally does and he says the Nick Saban dynasty is over and all that,” said Kiffin, a former Alabama assistant. “Every time he says this — which I tell him — all he does is, I call it, like, GOAT fuel. The opposite of rat poison. You’re just like, giving the GOAT fuel, which for him, that works. He goes and proves them wrong every time.

“So really appreciate you, Paul, saying that right after the game. I’m sure that was on his desk Sunday morning.”

Alabama’s two SEC defeats — to Tennessee and LSU — are uncharacteristic for such a juggernaut of a program, which has struggled four times so far.

While some could argue that the Crimson Tide could have beaten the Volunteers with a shorter late field goal or won in overtime with better clock management, the naysayers will point to a last-second field goal at Texas and a goal-line stand at home against Texas A&M that could have added two more losses to the Tuscaloosa team’s ledger.

“I know people have kind of written us off to some degree,” Saban said. “We’ve had four games that have come down basically to the last play of the game. We won two of them and lost two of them by a total of four points.

“We’re going to play a good team this week, and I’m sure they’re going to want to put up on their mantel, ‘We beat Alabama, too.’ It’s just a matter of whether we’re going to allow that to happen or do everything we can to avoid it.”

Alabama has won six straight in the series after losing to former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze in 2014 and 2015. However, that 2014 triumph was vacated for Freeze using ineligible players.

–Field Level Media

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has words for Mercer linebacker Jordan Williams (40) as he leaves the field Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Bryant-Denny Stadium. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Alabama Vs Mercer

No. 1 Alabama wants to show Utah State its trophy mentality

Alabama was runner-up to national title winner Georgia last season, but there’s a three-peat on the line for the Crimson Tide in 2022.

Linebacker Will Anderson is a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, which resided in Tuscaloosa at the end of each of the past two seasons thanks to wide receiver DeVonta Smith (2020) and quarterback Bryce Young (2021).

Anderson and Young will make their opening statements of the 2022 season when No. 1 Alabama hosts Utah State (1-0) in the season opener for the Crimson Tide on Saturday night.

Utah State beat UConn 31-20 last week to open the season.

“This is really kind of about us and how we prepare to play and what we need to do against a really good opponent,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “So that’s going to be the emphasis all week long for us.”

Saban is stressing competition and not promising anything with a depth chart listing starters or equating to playing time. He reminded the Crimson Tide any trophies they’ve earned in the past as an individual or team have no trade-in value toward the 2022 goals of winning the SEC and a national title.

“No one’s entitled to anything on our team,” Saban said. “So the message to every player every day, regardless of what the competitive circumstances of his position is, you’re trying to create value for yourself, you’re trying to be the best player that you can be.

“There shouldn’t be any external factors that determine how you go about that. And if you’re really a true competitor, you don’t need somebody to be competing for your job because you’re competing with yourselves to be the best version of yourself that you can be relative to whatever you choose to do in your life.”

Utah State is getting a massive check for the trip to Alabama on Saturday — $1.9 million — and coach Blake Anderson didn’t try to spin the scenario they will encounter.

“I spent most of my career (playing) in these kinds of games,” Anderson said Monday. “It’s a necessary evil. We’ve got an athletic department that we’ve got to fund, and this is something that we have got to do.”

That doesn’t mean the Aggies won’t show up. Utah State has a seven-game road winning streak. Anderson has won three consecutive games against Power 5 opponents, including Utah State’s 26-23 win at Washington State last season and a 24-13 win against Oregon State in the 2021 Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.

And Utah State has been on the SEC stage in the state before. On Sept. 3, 2011, the Aggies visited No. 19 Auburn, the defending national champions, and led 38-28 with 3:38 remaining before losing 42-38.

But alas, the saying about the value of yesteryear’s trophies might apply.

Last week, Utah State fell behind by 14 points in the opener but rallied to beat UConn. The Aggies gave up 14 points and 180 total yards in the first quarter before shutting UConn down.

Senior running back Calvin Tyler had 161 yards on 33 carries against the Huskies, and quarterback Logan Bonner completed 20 of 29 passes for 281 yards and three scores. Utah State totaled 542 yards in the win.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban reacts against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama adds to top recruiting class with 4-star DL Edric Hill

Four-star defensive lineman Edric Hill committed to play his college football at Alabama on Monday evening.

Hill is rated the No. 183 overall prospect and the 27th-best defensive lineman by the 247Sports composite rankings. The Kansas City native chose Alabama over LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon and Southern California.

Nick Saban already had the top-ranked 2023 recruiting class, per 247Sports, before Hill’s commitment. Hill is the 21st recruit to commit to the Crimson Tide, a group that includes four five-stars, three alone who play in the secondary.

Hill, listed at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, is entering his senior year at North Kansas City High School.

–Field Level Media