That performance, though, was against a Middle Tennessee State team that was 8-5 last season and hailing from the mid-major realm. No. 11 Texas, meanwhile, presents a much different and more stout challenge for the No. 3 ranked Tide in Week 2 down in Tuscaloosa.
Already, one analyst pointed out a significant flaw involving Milroe from the 56-7 romp…basically firing off the early warning of where the Longhorns can attack the first-year starting quarterback.
Analyst Believes Taking Away This Element Will Disrupt Alabama’s Game Plan
College football recruiting analyst CJ Vogel made this strong observation on Tuesday, September 5 in observing some game film on the former Longhorns verbal commitment: Milroe’s reads and progressions.
That’s when he shared where he believes Texas can have the advantage if the ‘Horns want to upset the Tide down in Southeastern Conference (SEC) country.
“How can Texas slow down Jalen Milroe and Alabama in the pass game?” Vogel begins to ask on social media. “By taking away the first read.”
In this instance, Vogel captured how Milroe locked his eyes the whole way on his first option against the Blue Raiders in his series of clips.
“I understand the Alabama play calling was simplified versus MTSU, but as @CoachDT_TFB (Darius Terrell) pointed out to me, very rarely did Milroe show any progressions from first read to second. Often times he was locked on to his #1 target from the snap to release,” Vogel said while showing first half dropbacks of Milroe.
Furthermore, Vogel believes that this game presents the first biggest pass defense test for the Katy, Texas native.
“I mentioned on @TFB_Texas this AM, there’s also an opportunity for Texas to be ultra-aggressive in the secondary when reading the eyes of Milroe to jump routes,” Vogel said. “Take away the first read and Texas’ defense will be successful Saturday.”
How Does Milroe Stack up to The Longhorns’ DB Unit?
Texas managed to bottle Rice to just 149 passing yards in the 37-10 romp of the Owls to start the year. Included in the Longhorns’ performance? Two aerial takeaways.
Who are the Longhorns Milroe and the air attack must counter for Saturday’s highly-anticipated showdown? Milroe will face up to five defensive backs in the Longhorns’ base defense but a deep CB room. Here’s a breakdown:
Ryan Watts: The towering Watts has familiarity with ‘Bama — he was on the Ohio State Buckeyes team that was trounced by the Tide in the 2020 season national title game. That was also during a time his Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian was Alabama’s offensive coordinator. The 6-foot-3 Watts brings a height and length background to the exotic look Texas runs and has a background as a stout press man cornerback option.
Terrance Brooks: The opposite CB of Watts, he’s shorter at 6-feet but Brooks is perhaps the most fluid and fundamentally sound CB on Texas. He’s also unafraid to step in and disrupt a receiving route or close fast on the ball. Perhaps it’s Brooks who becomes the best option at eliminating the first read for Milroe. He’s one Milroe will have to account for when on the field.
Malik Muhammad: Any chance the top CB commit for the Texas 2023 class also sees extensive action? Especially against the school that tried to recruit him? The 6-foot Muhammad, who was the nation’s No. 4 overall CB by 247Sports composite, had an impressive debut by stepping in with a team-high five solo tackles and had a pass breakup. But, as is the case for any CFB quarterback, Milroe and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees will likely test the true freshman.
Meanwhile, versatile Austin Jordan is another integral defender likely being discussed in offensive meetings at Tuscaloosa. Jordan has helped man the “star” role as the fifth DB in the Texas defense — allowing him to bounce between CB and safety. Jordan was one of the two Longhorns along with linebacker Jaylan Ford who snatched an interception in the win over Rice.
Milroe will definitely get tested against Texas and what really appears to be a 2-4-5 look from veteran defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. “PK” has faced Alabama before when he was under Chris Petersen at Washington during the Huskies’ 2016 College Football Playoff run, and during a time ‘Bama had Jalen Hurts as its dual threat. Saturday presents a great opportunity to see how well Milroe’s eyes really are against this defensive structure — and versus a Power 5 opponent.