Nick Saban Sends Strong Message on Job Tommy Rees is Doing

Getty Nick Saban sent a strong message about the job Tommy Rees is doing in his first few months as Alabama's offensive coordinator

Not often will Nick Saban dole out excessive praise, but first-year Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Rees earned adulation from the Crimson Tide coach during a March 30 press conference.

“I like where we’re headed and what we’re doing,” Saban said of Alabama’s offense. “I think the scheme that we have to run the ball is well tied together. Hopefully between that and play-action passes we can make a few more explosive plays and not just rely on dropping back all the time. I think that would be very helpful.”

Rees comes to Tuscaloosa with seven years of coaching experience overall, and three years of serving as the offensive coordinator of his alma mater Notre Dame. The 30-year-old Lake Forest, Illinois native appeared in 47 games for the Fighting Irish from 2010-2013, amassing 7,670 passing yards, 61 touchdowns, and 37 interceptions over his college career.

The biggest question mark Rees faces running the Crimson Tide offense will be figuring out which quarterback (Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson) is bet fit to run the show, and finding a way to best utilize a deep running back room that features two seniors (Jase McClellan, Roydell Williams) and two incoming freshman (Justice Haynes, Richard Young).

Nick Saban on Alabama’s Quarterback Battle

During an interview with ESPN’s Heather Dinich that aired on a March 29 edition of SportsCenter, Saban talked about where his quarterbacks are in their development in what has been a highly publicized battle between the returning spot starter Milroe and the potentially better system passer Simpson.

“Both of the guys are working hard,” Saban said. “The most important thing is that they can stay focused on what they need to do to improve their ability to play winning football at the position, which is a very important position because they distribute the ball to someone every play. It’s an important position. They’re both guys that have talent and we just have to try to help them develop and focus on the things they need to do to play winning football.”

The Alabama head coach downplayed Milroe’s experience advantage.

“I think Jalen does have some experience, but it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish,” Saban said. “It’s a competition and both guys need to do the things that they need to do to improve. Both guys have had a great attitude so far. We’re excited about what we can do to help them do that.”

Incoming Alabama Freshmen Quarterbacks Likely to Redshirt

ESPN’s Tom Luginbill commented on the two Alabama quarterbacks unlikely to see many snaps during the 2023 season, Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan, predicting redshirts for the both of them in a piece published on March 30.

“The Crimson Tide have a logjam of talented quarterbacks on the roster,” Luginbill prefaced before saying, “Unless disaster strikes, we would not see Holstein playing this fall. His goal this year is to beat out Lonergan and win on the scout team each day. Lonergan will likely redshirt, run the scout team and battle with Holstein for the third spot.”

Luginbill sees the past few seasons as evidence that Holstein and Lonergan will not be rushed in their development.

“There is no pressure to play,” Luginbill said. “Nick Saban hasn’t had to rush quarterbacks over the past few years (see: Mac Jones, Bryce Young).”