It’s been quite a while in Tuscaloosa since the Alabama Crimson Tide had less-than-ideal quarterback play. After all, their last four starting quarterbacks are going to be NFL starters next year in Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and probable first-overall pick in Thursday’s draft, Bryce Young.
Those players have helped revolutionize Alabama football, taking it from a program that relied on good defense and a great running game early on in head coach Nick Saban’s tenure, to one that has had as good of an offense as any program in the country the last six years.
But, this is a different kind of year at quarterback for the Crimson Tide, as questions marks at the position are as big as they have been since 2014. The two top candidates to start are third-year player Jalen Milroe, a very mobile, albeit limited passer out of Texas, and second-year player Ty Simpson, a more traditional quarterback out of Tennessee. Both were good recruits, but they weren’t the five-star phenom that Bryce Young was. And, Tagovailoa and Jones had all had key moments for the Tide before becoming the full time starter. Couple that with losing offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to the Patriots and replacing him with former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, and there were a lot of curious fans and observers heading into the Alabama spring game on Saturday.
But, the quarterbacks were up-and-down. They combined for three interceptions on the day. Yes, they threw some good balls, and Milroe even had three total touchdowns. But, they were simply too inconsistent, as the two top candidates combined for a completion percentage of just 50%.
Alabama spring game stats: pic.twitter.com/dve9dKA7oL
— Barrett Sallee 🇺🇸 (@BarrettSallee) April 22, 2023
And, this won’t quiet the murmurs that Alabama could be looking to bring in a portal quarterback this summer. Just last week, rumors that Miami starter Tyler Van Dyke could be coming to Tuscaloosa started to pick up steam.
According to the 247 Miami Hurricanes mods, the Alabama Crimson Tide reached out to QB Tyler Van Dyke but ultimately the QB chose to stay in Coral Gables while receiving a brand new NIL deal. pic.twitter.com/OO6zyWCbrs
— CFBLIVE247 (@CFBLive247_) April 21, 2023
And, fans and observers are starting realize a portal quarterback may be in play after these comments by Nick Saban after the scrimmage.
Which quarterback is he getting from the portal? pic.twitter.com/l0CoUJC3S2
— Sidelines – Bama (@SSN_Alabama) April 22, 2023
Giving my assessment on the Alabama football team I would let Justice Haynes touch the football 25 times a game , I would go to the transfer portal to find a quarterback for this year because I believe Saban is waiting on Julian Salin to be his starter an Burton need to be better
— Eastman Lewis (@EastmanLewis1) April 22, 2023
Terrible pass. Alabama better hit up the portal for a quarterback
— Chance731 (@ChanceH731) April 22, 2023
Who knows what Nick Saban has up his sleeve. But, I’d bet on him figuring something out at quarterback, whether that’s someone already in the program or outside of it. After all, the 71-year-old doesn’t have that many years of coaching left.