Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Who will be Alabama’s starting quarterback? 

CW Archive
Alabama quarterback Ty Simpson (15) throws the ball at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL on Saturday, Apr 22, 2023.

Alabama football opens the 2023 season against Middle Tennessee at 6:30 pm CT. The only problem is no one knows who is going to be the starting quarterback.  

 The quarterback decision has come down to three names: junior Jalen Milroe, redshirt sophomore Ty Simpson and Notre Dame sophomore transfer Tyler Buchner. 

 Each player has his own strengths and weaknesses. Whoever wins this job will be handed the keys to one of the most talented teams in the nation. The last two times a competition of this magnitude happened at Alabama were in 2016 [Blake Barnett vs. Jalen Hurts] and 2018 [Jalen Hurts vs. Tua Tagovailoa.] 

 “Everybody is getting reps at the position, somebody is going to have the bull of the horn, and somebody has to separate themselves,” head coach Nick Saban said. “When we’re going to take the cake out of the oven, we will tell you when it’s time.” 

Jalen Milroe

 Ever since Bryce Young went No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL draft, most people believed Milroe would take the job and run with it. During the spring game, Milroe played OK, passing for 245 yards on 51% completion, but Alabama was not comfortable with his performance. 

Milroe is easily the most dynamic guy out of the three contenders. His biggest weapon is his ability to run, which was apparent last year during the Arkansas and Texas A&M games. Although he is one of the fastest quarterbacks Saban has had at Alabama, his main issue is accuracy. Milroe has plenty of arm strength, but his consistency has always been his biggest problem.  

 “I think Jalen has made a significant amount of improvement,” Saban said during Monday’s press conference. “I think he’s more comfortable in the pocket. I think that he has more confidence in the way he executes and the way he plays. He’s been more consistent in the way he has played and … that’s going to be the key of the drill for him, to be able to maintain that consistency in every practice so that he is developing the kind of habits that are going to carry over in the game and help him be successful.” 

Ty Simpson

 Simpson is the complete opposite of Milroe. He’s the more common Nick Saban guy; he is decently tall, standing at 6 feet, 1 inch, but he is a more traditional pocket passer. While he is no MiIlroe, Simpson has also shown that he can run when the pocket breaks down. Simpson’s biggest downside is his experience. While Milroe has been at Alabama since 2021, Simpson has only been at the Capstone since 2022.  

 “I think where the offense is going, it’s going to be a premium on decision making, a premium on distributing the football accurately from the pocket, off play action, back to the defense, on play action,” said former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy. “I think that is where the offense is going, and I think [Simpson] at this point is able to run that at the highest level.”  

Tyler Buchner

 Finally, there’s Buchner. After the spring game, Saban and his staff decided to get Buchner out of the transfer portal. The biggest strength for Buchner is his knowledge of the offense, as he is reunited with former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.  

Buchner does not exceed in anything, but he is good at everything: He can run, he can pass, and he can lead an offense. Buchner’s biggest weakness, though, is going to be winning over the locker room. Being quarterback means being the leader of the locker room, and Buchner does not have the same amount of time to build chemistry with his teammates that Milroe and Simpson had. 

Any one of these contenders could step foot onto the field first this Saturday, and even then, that’s not a final decision on QB1. Saturday’s game just may tell who will be Alabama’s quarterback this year. 

More to Discover