Nick Saban Hinted Jalen Milroe Had Leg up in QB Room Before Announcement

Jalen Milroe

Getty Jalen Milroe during the 2023 Alabama spring game.

Now Alabama Crimson Tide fans know who’s starting behind center for Week 1 with the Tide rolling with Jalen Milroe, which was announced on Friday, September 1 just one day before ‘Bama opens up the 2023 season.

But did head coach Nick Saban reveal who was QB1 on Monday, August 25 before the Middle Tennessee State game?

Saban Revealed How Much Milrose Improved

If Saban’s words were any indication from his Monday press conference with the media, Milroe sounded like the QB who had the leg up in the Tide’s quarterback room.

“I think Jalen has made a significant amount of improvement,” Saban said on Monday. “I think he’s more comfortable in the pocket. He has more confidence in the way he executes and the way he plays. He’s been more consistent in the way he’s played and I think 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.”

While Saban insists that everyone else involved in the QB race — from Norte Dame transfer Tyler Buchner to Ty Simpson — did enough to impress he and the Tide coaches, Saban’s rhetoric is the indicator that Milrose was the one who took the lead in the race.

Then, during his weekly radio show “Hey Coach” on Thursday, Saban revealed a message he shared to Milrose on the eve of his 2023 start.

“The life of a quarterback, any quarterback, depends on how they perform. So, if a guy plays well, that’s what creates security at that position,” Saban said. “A guy’s got to understand that the way he performs is really, really important.”

Saban continued with: “All three guys have made significant improvements. Would like to play more than one guy in the game. I’ve told the guy who’s going to start the game, we want you to play well enough so we have an opportunity to play all the guys at the position because that’s important for us.”

Milroe Was Compared to Recently Traded NFL QB, Also to Face Team he Was Committed to Soon

Before Friday’s announcement, there was a time when Milroe wasn’t planning on going to Tuscaloosa.

As a four-star prospect from Katy, Texas, Milroe was committed to in-state power the University of Texas. Milroe once drew comparisons to NFL passer Joshua Dobbs — the same Dobbs recently traded by the Cleveland Browns to the Arizona Cardinals.

“One of the top 2021 QB’s in a strong class in Texas. Possesses long-term NFL Draft potential, possibly to the top half of the draft,” Gabe Brooks of 247Sports once wrote in his evaluation of Milroe.

But, on August 17, 2020, Milroe flipped from the Longhorns to the Crimson Tide.

Many believed the verbal commitment of Quinn Ewers helped persuade Milroe’s decision to switch to Alabama. Ewers is now the projected starter for the Longhorns.

Milroe, ironically, gets to face the team he was once committed to on September 9 following MTSU.

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