3 things Tyler Buchner must prove in camp to become Tide’s Week 1 starter

Pic Tyler Buchner0

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Sam Thornton

TUSCALOOSA – Notre Dame transfer quarterback Tyler Buchner made a shocking announcement in April that he planned to play under Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide this upcoming season. Buchner joins a quarterback room with two other potential starters in Junior Jalen Milroe and Sophomore Ty Simpson.

The announcement of Buchner’s decision shows that Saban has questions about Alabama’s week 1 starter against Middle Tennessee State, and all three quarterbacks have a chance to secure it.

Here are three things that Buchner must do in camp this summer to become Alabama’s week one starter:

Take advantage of his familiarity with offensive coordinator Tommy Rees

Rees joins the Alabama staff from Notre Dame as the new offensive coordinator this season replacing Bill O’Brien. Buchner was able to operate under Rees’ play calling for two seasons with the Fighting Irish, recently capping off a win in the Gator Bowl last season where he accounted for five touchdowns in Notre Dame’s 45-38 victory over South Carolina. The win over South Carolina came after a 10 game absence due to an injury suffered in Notre Dame’s week two game against Marshall.

The recent confidence from Buchner is an advantage for him over both Milroe and Simpson who combined for 16/35 passing completions in Alabama’s spring game. Saban brought up concerns of quarterback play following the contest.

“I think we’ve got to work on going through progressions and develop confidence in the passing game, so we can distribute the ball to other people who can make plays more effectively and more efficiently,” Saban said.

With Rees in as the new offensive coordinator, it shows fans that the run game will return to Tuscaloosa rather than taking frequent deep shots to receivers during O’Brien’s tenure. Although Buchner has been inconsistent with his passing game in the past, he will have better weapons to work with in the receiving core and specifically on the ground. Several games under his belt with Rees should carry confidence with Buchner throughout the summer.

Be the first quarterback to master the playbook

Neither Milroe or Simpson has figured out the new Alabama offense. Even last season when Milroe started against Texas A&M where he threw 12/19 passing and had two fumbles, it was evident that there were several strides that needed to occur before Saban could solidify him as this years starter.

When you look back at recent Alabama quarterbacks such as Mac Jones and Bryce Young, they were able to quickly process information thrown at them. They knew the playbook like the back of their hands before camp ended.

A fresh face in Tuscaloosa that Buchner possesses could be just what this offense needs. Both Milroe and Simpson could feel the pressure from Buchner’s transfer announcement, which gives Buchner another element of confidence in his intellectual football skills.

Buchner has also started in bigger contests than Milroe or Simpson, most notably Notre Dame’s week one game on the road against Ohio State where he threw his first pass of his starting role for 54 yards. Knowing the playbook in high pressure games will be key for Alabama’s success.

Become consistent in the pass game

For the last decade, Alabama has had a predecessor year in and out at the quarterback position. Nearly every offense was run through them, promoting new techniques and play calls each season.

It’s clear that Saban isn’t quite sure what he has in this quarterback room. If he was sold on one player, Buchner would’ve remained at Notre Dame where he was the projected 2023 starter.

This shows us that Buchner is willing to form into any offense that both Saban and Rees have in mind. From what we can tell, the ground game will play a significant role but occasional deep throws need to be implemented if Alabama wants to contend for a national championship.

All three of the potential starters are similar with their mobile ability, but they struggle with consistency in the air. If Buchner wants to gain a edge on Milroe and Simpson, he needs to show Rees that when it’s time to make a big play, he won’t miss.

The 75-yard touchdown thrown by Buchner against South Carolina in the Gator Bowl prompts a higher ceiling for himself as a passer, but it needs to translate in camp.

Categories: Alabama, College Sports, Local News