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

Quarterbacks highlight a new offense during Kalen DeBoer’s first A-Day at Alabama

CW/ Jennifer Stroud

In the most highly anticipated A-Day game since Nick Saban took over the reins at Alabama in 2007, the Crimson Tide’s quarterbacks were on full display during new head coach Kalen DeBoer’s first spring game in Tuscaloosa. With a new, offensive-minded head coach leading the way, everyone was interested to see how the signal callers would look in their first public live action. 

The result was overall positive for the quarterbacks, each of whom showed flashes of being in control of the offense. These flashes looked like the result of the confidence that DeBoer instills in the quarterback room.  

“I felt prepared. It comes from just being confident and also the coaching staff,” quarterback Jalen Milroe said. “This coaching staff is just really confident in me. I have a coaching staff that’s pushing me to be great.” 

Each quarterback got multiple drives throughout the game. Here is a look at how they performed. 

Jalen Milroe (3/9, 100 yards passing, 2 carries, 8 yards rushing) 

Milroe had fans on their feet from the start, hitting Washington transfer wide receiver Germie Bernard over the middle of the field for a 33-yard pickup. This put the offense on the doorstep of the end zone, where it later scored the opening touchdown of the game.

Milroe’s second crack was much of the same, as he threw a laser on a Bernard corner route that went for 52 yards and put the offense on the 2-yard line. This was by far Milroe’s best throw of the afternoon and showed how much of an impact having a clean pocket has on the veteran quarterback. 

The only bad throw of the day for Milroe came during his third drive, when he overthrew his receiver on a seam route. This looked like a miscommunication between Milroe and his pass-catcher, which is something that can be expected this early in a campaign.  

The theme of the rest of the afternoon for Milroe was dropped passes. Milroe himself looked good and was on time with most of his throws. It was drops from his receivers and pass breakups from defenders that tanked his numbers.  

After the game, Milroe was asked about the spring as a whole and where he thought he was compared with last season and earlier in the spring. 

“I’m starving,” Milroe said. “There’s some things that I can get better at than last year. Each and every day I’m trying to be my best me.” 

DeBoer was asked a similar question and noted that the quarterback is progressing rather nicely. 

“It was great to see him [Milroe] take that next step and have that progression,” DeBoer said. 

Ty Simpson (7/12, 102 yards passing) 

Simpson had a very clean outing for the Crimson Tide, and much like Milroe, led the offense down the field for touchdowns on his opening two drives. What stood out about Simpson was his ability to fight pressure, step up in the pocket and deliver good throws.  

Simpson’s pocket presence was felt on a number of occasions throughout the game, but he really turned it on during his final three drives. During his first drive, Simpson was able to step up and throw a 25-yard dime to wide receiver Kobe Prentice over the middle.  

The next drive, Simpson had what was arguably his best play of the day. He was pressured right from the snap and rolled out to his left, where he was able to throw off his back foot and deliver a perfect ball to wide receiver Caleb Odom. This play went for only 6 yards, but the degree of difficulty behind the throw was off the charts. 

On his final drive of the day, Simpson stood in the pocket and delivered a strike down the sideline to Bernard to put an exclamation point on the day for both players.  

Simpson’s overall performance was very consistent, and he had many flashes of potential throughout the contest. He caught the attention of everyone in attendance, including DeBoer. 

“You saw, he does a great job back there. I have full confidence,” DeBoer said. “Ty has just been consistent and has gotten better throughout the spring.” 

DeBoer also noted Simpson’s pocket presence and ability to make good decisions with the football. 

“You see what he does out there. He’s accurate. He knows when to put touch on it,” DeBoer said. “He’s got command of the offense for sure.” 

Dylan Lonergan (8/12, 67 yards passing): 

After minimal action for Lonergan in 2023, he took advantage of the opportunity to show off at A-Day with an all-around good performance. He finished tied for the highest completion percentage among the quarterbacks and had a couple of pretty good reads throughout his time on the field.  

Lonergan looked fairly comfortable in the offense and, for the most part, got the ball where it needed to go. There were a few occasions when he dumped it off to a checkdown rather than hitting an open receiver further down the field, but overall, he showed signs of consistency throughout the afternoon. 

DeBoer has confidence in Lonergan and noted what was important to take away from spring ball as a quarterback. 

“It’s timing, it’s confidence, it’s read progressions,” DeBoer said. 

Austin Mack (6/9, 33 yards passing) 

Mack’s first two throws in an Alabama uniform were very obviously filled with butterflies, as they both were thrown well short of the intended receivers. The freshman was able to gain a little more consistency as the afternoon progressed and began hitting his receivers with more frequency.  

It was apparent that the coaching staff was trying to get Mack as much confidence as possible by creating dink-and-dunk plays and giving him easy reads to make. He adjusted well to this and ended the afternoon on a high note. 

Overall, the quarterbacks had a strong showing during Alabama’s spring game and all showed flashes of real control and confidence within a brand-new scheme. DeBoer noted this success postgame, mentioning the quarterbacks’ pocket presence and ability to keep the ball out of the hands of the defense. 

“I don’t think in any of the scrimmages, the quarterbacks have thrown a pick,” he said. “I think all of the quarterbacks did a good job of pushing the pocket.” 

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