Alabama QB battle far from over

Alabama quarterback Tyler Buchner (8) goes to throw the ball against USF at Raymond James in Tampa, FL on Saturday, Sep 16, 2023.

By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Juliet Brown

Following last week’s loss to No. 11 Texas, the Crimson Tide got a closer look at the other players in its quarterback competition.

Notre Dame transfer, Tyler Buchner, got the start against USF. The offense punted on the first five drives of the game, which had not previously occurred in the “Nick Saban” era.

Buchner completed 5-of-14 passes for 34 yards in a little under two quarters of action before he was benched shortly before halftime in favor of redshirt freshman Ty Simpson.

Simpson played the test of the way, completing 5-of-9 passes for 73 yards. He completed his final five attempts after starting out 0-4, and Simpson led Alabama on its only two touchdown drives.

While the offense was more productive with Simpson, he was sacked five times.

“I thought he did okay,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “He made a couple of really good throws and he missed a couple of big play throws that, you know, we’ve been making some of those, but I thought he played well, managed the game well. We ran the ball quite a bit when he was in there. I don’t think the sacks were necessarily his fault, so we’ll evaluate him when we watch the film.”

Jalen Milroe, who started the first two games, didn’t play at all on Saturday.

In last week’s loss to Texas, Milroe threw a pair of interceptions, but also completed 14-of 27 for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He had six completions if 15 yards or more and would’ve had two more had they not been negated by penalties.

By comparrison, the Crimson Tide only had one pass completion over 15 yards against USF, which came on a 45-yard play to CJ Dippre midway through the 3rd quarter.

Saban and his staff will have to figure out which one they want to roll with heading into SEC play.

“We’re going to evaluate the quarterbacks that played today and evaluate Jalen Milroe in terms of how he played, and decide this week who gives us the best opportunity to be successful as an offensive team,” Saban said.

Alabama starts SEC play next weekend against Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide has a tall task ahead of them as the Rebels are very familiar with the way Saban runs his team. Ole Miss is coached by former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, and the Rebels defense is run by former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Pete Golding.

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