Brye Young was highly complimentary of his replacement under center for Alabama, Jalen Milroe — who threw for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns and added another 48 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground in a 56-7 Week 1 victory over Middle Tennessee on September 2 — during a September 6 press conference.
“J-Mil balled out,” Young told the Carolina media. “I’ve been able to watch him grow and just continue to get better in all aspects from being on the field to off the field. His understanding of the game and of the offense, his command and then everything on the field, he continues to grow.
“That’s my guy, that’s my brother, so I’m super excited for him. It was really great to see the success he had. He’s a great player, and it shows on the field. But he’s also a great person, great dude. Again, I’ve been able to see him progress behind the scenes for years now, and there’s nothing surprising about what he did, and I’m super excited for him.”
After a shoulder injury to Young, Milroe filled in for Young during Alabama’s 49-26 victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville in October 2022. Milroe then started against Texas A&M the next week in Bryant-Denny Stadium, leading the Crimson Tide to a razor-thin 24-20 victory over Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies.
Young would take over for the team’s loss against Tennessee on October 15 and would later go on to lead Alabama to a Sugar Bowl victory over Big 12 champion Kansas State on New Year’s Eve 2022.
Nick Saban on Alabama QB1 Jalen Milroe: ‘Did a Good Job’
Milroe not only has the respect of his peers, but he also owns the ever-elusive respect of Alabama head coach Nick Saban — who gave Milroe a metaphorical pat on the back after an opening-week 2023 win over Middle Tennessee.
“I think Jalen did a good job,” Saban said on September 2. “I think he’s had a good fall camp. I thought he played well in both scrimmages. I think he’s more confident. He’s doing a good job in the passing game. His athleticism helps him.”
When asked how Milroe would fare against Texas, Saban wasn’t able to commit to a prediction.
“I don’t really know,” Saban prefaced before saying, “I mean, I love him. I think he’s doing well. He’s working hard to try and improve. He’s a good competitor. He’s doing everything he can to play his best. But this is a Coke bottle, it’s not a crystal ball. It’s hard to know.”
Nick Saban ‘Always’ Knew Jalen Milroe Was Alabama QB1
Saturday Down South’s Matt Hayes believes that Saban always knew Milroe was the choice for Alabama QB1, ahead of Ty Simpson, Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner, and freshmen Dylan Lonergan and Eli Holstein, “all along.”
“Something tells me Saban knew all along this offseason that Milroe was the path, and all the machinations and faux trepidations were theater to keep the focus from 1 player and place it on an entire team,” Hayes wrote.