Sep 9, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) celebrates after hitting Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jermaine Burton (3) for a touchdown at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Texas defeated Alabama 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr. -USA TODAY Sports

Alabama reinstates Jalen Milroe as starting QB

Jalen Milroe regained the starting quarterback job for No. 13 Alabama on Monday after sitting out this weekend’s lackluster win against South Florida.

Milroe started the first two games for the Crimson Tide (2-1) but was benched following a 34-24 home loss to Texas on Sept. 9.

Tyler Buchner started Saturday’s 17-3 win against the Bulls and completed just 5 of 14 passes for 34 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Ty Simpson took over late in the first half and was 5-of-9 passing for 73 yards, no TDs and no picks. He ran for a 1-yard TD with 33 seconds left.

Milroe, who won the QB1 battle during the offseason, did not play against USF but still managed to make a strong impression on head coach Nick Saban.

“From a quarterback standpoint, this is all I’m going to say about this,” Nick Saban said Monday. “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.

“He’s had the opportunity to play. So have the other guys. Jalen played the best of all those guys and so I think he’s earned the opportunity to be the quarterback.”

Alabama, which fell out of the Top 10 on Sunday for the first time in eight years, opens Southeastern Conference play on Saturday against No. 15 Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa, Miss.

Milroe, a redshirt sophomore who started one game in 2022, is 27-for-45 for 449 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions this season. He has also rushed for 92 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tyler Buchner (8) scrambles up the field against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: No. 10 Alabama makes quarterback switch

Quarterback Tyler Buchner will replace Jalen Milroe when No. 10 Alabama visits South Florida on Saturday, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Buchner, a transfer from Notre Dame, followed new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the offseason. He lost a preseason battle to Milroe to replace departed All-America QB Bryce Young, but Buchner has been taking most of the first-team snaps this week in practice, per reports.

Milroe started the first two games for the Crimson Tide (1-1), including last Saturday’s 34-24 loss at home to then-No. 11 Texas, which rose to No. 4 after the upset win. Milroe completed 14 of 27 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said after the defeat that he considered playing another quarterback. Buchner played as a reserve in the Sept. 2 season opener, a 56-7 home victory over Middle Tennessee, and completed 3 of 5 passes for 27 yards and rushed for a 9-yard touchdown.

“We evaluate every position every week. If guys want security in their position, they need to play well,” Saban said Wednesday. “Everybody on our team knows that. I think everybody has responded in a positive way to try to get better and to improve. We’ll constantly evaluate that position as we do every other position.”

A redshirt sophomore, Buchner spent the 2021-22 seasons at Notre Dame, playing in 10 games as a freshman and making three starts as a sophomore before a shoulder injury ended his season.

He passed for 949 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions with the Fighting Irish. Buchner also rushed 82 times for 459 yards and seven TDs.

Milroe, a redshirt sophomore who started one game in 2022, is 27-for-45 for 449 yards with five touchdowns and two picks this season.

–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

Dec 31, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama quarterback Ty Simpson (15) warms up before he Crimson Tide   s game with Kansas State  in the 2022 Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Favorite emerges in Alabama’s three-headed QB race

Alabama is in a similar boat to several other powerhouse programs as the Crimson Tide approach August without a definitive answer at starting quarterback.

However, the Tide’s situation is even a bit murkier with a trio of potential signal-callers in the picture for the team’s season opener against Middle Tennessee.

Ty Simpson is the current +150 favorite by to be under center for that Sept. 2 game. That’s slightly ahead of Tyler Buchner (+140) and Jalen Milroe (+300).

The trio are competing to replace Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and was named the Carolina Panthers’ starting quarterback on Wednesday.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said this week that none of his 2023 quarterback options created separation in the spring and so, as with “Grandma Saban’s best cake in the world,” the plan is to “not rush it.”

“She’d say, ‘If I take it out of the oven too soon, it’s gonna turn to mush.’ We have to make sure we let the cake bake,” Saban said.

That oven could continue to be set to bake beyond the season opener, with Alabama set for a showdown against the Texas Longhorns in Week 2.

Alabama also has new coordinators following the exit of Bill O’Brien on offense, but Kevin Steele returned to fill the void at defensive coordinator for his third stint on Saban’s staff.

Tommy Rees has the dual role of coordinator and quarterbacks coach and drew raves from Saban. Rees was offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, where he played quarterback, for current LSU coach Brian Kelly.

“Tommy Rees is one of the brightest young minds I’ve seen in a long time in this business,” Saban said.

Buchner began his career under Rees at Notre Dame, so the two have more familiarity. Meanwhile, Milroe has the edge in on-field experience, having completed 31 of 53 passes for 297 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions last season.

Simpson saw only limited snaps in 2022, completing 4 of 5 passes for 35 yards in appearance in three blowout wins. However, many analysts are expecting the redshirt freshman to emerge as the Tide’s starter.

Simpson named the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year after throwing for 2,827 yards and 41 touchdowns and leading his Westview team to the Class 2A state title as a senior.

Alabama will actually have five scholarship quarterbacks on its roster this season, including Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan.

While there are also quarterback competitions at SEC rivals Georgia and Auburn, oddsmakers believer there are clear frontrunners at both.

Carson Beck is the heavy -700 favorite by the book to start Week 1 for Georgia over Brock Vandagriff (+400); while Payton Thorne is the -200 favorite to start the season for Auburn ahead of Robby Ashford (+150).

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) walks off the field after a Crimson Tide victory over the Texas A&M Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama still uncertain about Bryce Young’s availability

The status of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young remains uncertain for the third-ranked Crimson Tide’s visit to No. 6 Tennessee on Saturday.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner did not play last week in Alabama’s 24-20 win over Texas A&M because of an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder. He got hurt during the previous game against Arkansas.

Coach Nick Saban said after practice on Wednesday, “Bryce continues to practice a little bit more. We’ve got him on a little bit of a pitch count just to kind of wean him back into it and see how it goes. So we expect him to do even a little more tomorrow. That’s all I really have to say about that.”

Jalen Milroe played in Young’s spot last week and completed 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. The Crimson Tide were held scoreless on their final four possessions and held on after the Aggies reached their 2-yard line in the final seconds.

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said of Young and Milroe, “I think you have to prepare for both of them. You have to have a plan even if you know who the starter is because you know there’s gonna be some things that are different depending on if the other guy goes into the football game.

“For us, starting with Coach (Tim) Banks and our defensive staff and our players, understanding who’s in and the types of things that you’re gonna see. Obviously, our calls may adjust in situations based on who the QB is, but you have to prepare for both of them anyways.”

Young has completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 1,202 yards with 14 TDs and three interceptions. Milroe has a 60.9 percent completion rate for 262 yards with five scoring passes and two interceptions.

The Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) slipped out of the top spot in the rankings this week after the tight escape vs. Texas A&M. The Volunteers (5-0, 2-0) have their highest ranking of the season this week after routing then-No. 25 LSU 40-13 last week.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) celebrates with quarterback Bryce Young (9) after scoring a touchdown against the Texas A&M Aggies during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban hopeful for Bryce Young’s return vs. Vols

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Monday that starting quarterback Bryce Young'[s passing shoulder was re-evaluated and that “hopefully” the reigning Heisman winner can return for this week’s clash at No. 6 Tennessee.

Both teams are undefeated heading into Saturday’s showdown in Knoxville, Tenn. Alabama is ranked No. 3.

Young missed last Saturday’s narrow win over Texas A&M with shoulder soreness. He sustained a sprained AC joint in the Oct. 1 game against Arkansas. Young was a game-time decision against the Aggies. He was in uniform but never entered the game.

“Hopefully we’re going to try to get him ready to play this week,” Saban told reporters Monday. “But this is something nobody can predict how quickly he’ll get an opportunity to do what he needs to do.”

Jalen Milroe started against A&M and played “with a lot of anxiety,” Saban said. Milroe threw three touchdowns but also turned the ball over three times, including two fumbles.

The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, Young has passed for 1,202 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) rushes for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama QB Bryce Young (shoulder) may be game-day decision

A decision on whether or not Alabama quarterback Bryce Young can play against Texas A&M on Saturday might not be made until pregame warmups, coach Nick Saban said.

Young injured his right shoulder during last week’s 49-26 win over Arkansas. Saban said the medical staff decided Young shouldn’t throw in Thursday’s practice.

Since teams typically do walkthroughs on Friday, the warmups would be the time for Young to test his throwing shoulder.

“Bryce has been practicing, and all week, he’s been saying that he could play,” Saban told ESPN. “But that’s going to be a medical decision. We’ve still got some time, and I want to talk more to Bryce. He’s the only one who knows how he feels because it’s going to be a pain tolerance thing.”

Saban said Young didn’t sustain any damage to his rotator cuff and that the injury won’t sideline the reigning Heisman Trophy winner for the long term.

Young was injured in the second quarter against the Razorbacks and was replaced by Jalen Milroe, who rushed for 91 yards and passed for 65 in the victory. He also supplied two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing).

Young has passed for 1,202 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

“Obviously, Bryce is the leader of the team, and the players respect him and trust him and believe in him,” Saban said. “But I don’t see our players not performing well when (Milroe) is in there. He does enough good things that they believe in him and trust him. If he’s in there, I don’t see it as a problem. Whether we can execute well enough is what matters because these guys (Texas A&M) are better on defense, I think, than anybody we’ve played so far.”

The Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC) are heavy favorites over the Aggies (3-2, 1-1) despite the uncertainty of Young’s status. Last season, Texas A&M delivered a memorable 41-38 home win over Alabama.

–Field Level Media