Strong Message Sent on Alabama QB Race After Transfer: ‘Playing Time May Be Available’

Getty CBS Sports' Barrett Sallee believes playing time may be available for Alabama transfer portal quarterback Tyler Buchner

Newly added Alabama transfer portal quarterback Tyler Buchner, who rejoined his former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees in the move, could potentially have playing time available to him according to CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee.

“In heading to Alabama, it looks like the playing time may be available,” Sallee wrote. “Neither Jalen Milroe nor Ty Simpson looked prepared to lead Alabama on a College Football Playoff run during their respective spring game performances, and Crimson Tide fans — coach Nick Saban in particular — expect nothing less than national championships. Milroe was 19-of-37 passing for 245 yards and two touchdowns. He added 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground, even though quarterbacks weren’t “live” and couldn’t be tackled. Simpson completed 12 of 26 passes for 155 yards with an interception, which has caused consternation not only among fans but Saban himself.”

Sallee did note, though, that Buchner himself had an up-and-down career in South Bend for the Fighting Irish in 13 appearances in 2021 and 2022.

“Buchner’s brief career at Notre Dame was nothing short of a roller coaster,” Sallee wrote. “He was inconsistent with the football during all three of his games last season but showed his upside in the thrilling 45-38 win in the Gator Bowl. That is a big reason why he was a four-star prospect and the No. 91 overall player in the Class of 2021.”

Alabama Offensive Philosophy ‘Being Tweaked’

Sallee sees Alabama’s addition of Buchner, who has familiarity with Rees, as a tweak to the offense that was by and large outplayed by the defense during A-Day.

“That familiarity is huge under normal circumstances, and is even more important at a place like Alabama given the current state of its quarterback room,” Sallee wrote. “Saban has suggested numerous times that he intends Rees to implement an offense that is based more on pounding the rock to get tough yards rather than simply hoping for the home run on the ground, which was the case under former play-caller Bill O’Brien. The Crimson Tide’s offensive philosophy is clearly changing — or, at the very least, being tweaked. What better way is there for Rees to install that philosophy than re-recruiting the guy that helped him get the job at Alabama to begin with.”

Sallee believes the “landscape has changed” with the Crimson Tide landing “one of the most dynamic quarterbacks” in the transfer portal.

“The landscape has changed after Saban went out and nabbed one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the second portal window,” Sallee wrote.

Tyler Buchner Was Still in Running to be QB1 at Notre Dame

Buchner left the condition upon entering the transfer portal that returning to Notre Dame was still on the table. As Sallee wrote, Buchner was still in the running to be the starter for the Fighting Irish under center despite being outplayed by former Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman.

“Irish coach Marcus Freeman hit the transfer market during the first window last winter and nabbed former Wake Forest starter Sam Hartman, one of the most sought-after quarterbacks on the transfer market,” Sallee wrote. “Freeman said after Notre Dame’s spring game that despite the five years of experience that Hartman has under his belt, Buchner still had a shot at earning the top spot on the depth chart.”

Buchner adds a quarterback battle with more competition, but less clear options ahead of him on the depth chart.