The primary question Alabama now faces following the transfer portal acquisition of former Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner has little to do with the player himself — but rather the effects Buchner can have on the other quarterback in the room, as Saturday Down South’s Matt Hayes explained.
“The question isn’t can Buchner get up to speed; he has been running new Tide OC Tommy Rees’ offense for the past 2 seasons,” Hayes prefaced before saying, “It’s can his presence be enough to push Simpson or Milroe — or even freshmen Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan — to consistently prepare and play well?”
CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee believes that Buchner has a realistic chance of playing during the 2023 season, however.
“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.”
How Alabama Ended Up With Current Quarterback Problem
As Hayes explains, it took years of misfires on the recruiting trail that led to Alabama being in its current quarterback conundrum.
“Alabama recruited the top 3 QBs in the 247Sports composite 2021 class — Quinn Ewers, Caleb Williams, Drake Maye — before losing out on all 3 and eventually signing No. 14-ranked Jalen Milroe,” Hayes wrote. “The Tide were interested in Shedur Sanders, but he left to play for his dad, Deion Sanders, at Jackson State and has since transferred to Colorado. A year later in 2022, Alabama didn’t offer the top 3 quarterback recruits (Drew Allar, Cade Klubnik, Conner Weigman), and instead got an early commitment from No. 4 Ty Simpson — who was 1 of 4 quarterbacks this spring that didn’t show enough to prevent Saban from adding another quarterback to the competition.”
With all of that said the No. 3 overall quarterback of the Class of 2022, Ty Simpson, could’ve subverted the Crimson Tide’s signal-calling issues by being ready in his second year in Tuscaloosa. Alas, Simpson looked equally unworthy of the starting job to Jalen Milroe during the A-Day spring game on April 22.
LSU Has ‘Best Quarterback in the SEC’
Hayes, like many, tabs LSU as a sleeper team to win the SEC in 2023, the second season of Brian Kelly’s Baton Rouge tenure after 11 seasons at Notre Dame. The reason? The Tigers have the “best quarterback in the SEC” in Jayden Daniels.
“Alabama added a quarterback from the spring transfer portal because none of the 4 scholarship players on the roster did enough in spring practice (more on that later),” Hayes wrote. “And Georgia will begin 2023 with a new quarterback, though Carson Beck clearly has the talent to have a big season. LSU has the best quarterback in the SEC, and all things being equal — and they’re not between LSU and Georgia and Alabama, but the gap is decreasing — the best quarterback typically wins.”
November 4 in Tuscaloosa is when and where we’ll likely find out if LSU truly is the best team in the SEC.