Race to Replace Bryce Young at Quarterback ‘Already Fierce’

Getty The race to replace Bryce Young at quarterback "is already fierce" for Alabama ahead of the Crimson Tide's 2023 A-Day spring game

The race to replace Bryce Young at quarterback for Alabama — one headlined by returning spot starter Jalen Milroe and second-year redshirt freshman Ty Simpson that also features incoming freshmen Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan as longshots — is “already fierce” according to CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee.

“The race to replace Bryce Young is already fierce between Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson, and we’ll see how both fit into new offense coordinator Tommy Rees’ system on April 22,” Sallee wrote.

Sallee believes that what will be more interesting ultimately is what system new Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Tommy Rees installs following a big-play leaning system under former Alabama offensive coordinator and current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

“More importantly, though, will be the system itself,” Sallee wrote. “Bill O’Brien seemed to focus on hitting chunk plays on the ground, but Rees’ career has been to focus on the run and then take the top off the defense when they stack the box.”

Alabama Defense Not Living Up to Expectations: Analyst

Sallee doesn’t believe the vaunted defensive identity Alabama has formed under head coach Nick Saban and the long list of defensive coordinators he employed that went on to become head coaches at major programs — such as Kirby Smart, Jeremy Pruitt, and Will Muschamp to name a few — has been honored in recent seasons.

“We’ll also get a chance to see what the new defense looks like after Pete Golding left for Ole Miss,” Sallee prefaced before saying, “New DC Kevin Steele takes over a group that hasn’t lived up to the high expectations that exist in Tuscaloosa.”

For evidence of that statement, take this 2022 preseason scouting report of Alabama’s secondary last season from an unnamed executive to Heavy’s NFL national insider, Matt Lombardo.

“All five of Alabama’s defensive backs could go Round 1,” an NFL executive told Lombardo on August 4. For reference, Brian Branch is the only projected first-round draft pick from Alabama according to NFL Draft Buzz. Jordan Battle and Eli Ricks are projected third-rounders. Expectations were evidently not met last season in Tuscaloosa.

Texas Governor: Alabama’s 2023 QB is ‘No Bryce Young’

Texas’ governor, Greg Abbott, took a shot at Milroe, saying that the 2023 starting Crimson Tide quarterback frontrunner is “no Bryce Young.”

“I have seen what appears to be Alabama’s starting quarterback, and he’s no Bryce Young,” Abbott said on March 9 per The Statesman’s Ryan Autullo.

The Texas governor then predicted Texas upsetting Alabama on September 9 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“I’m gonna say it’s gonna be 27-21, Texas Longhorns,” Abbott said. “Texas has more returning starters than Alabama does. The quarterback that was literally running all over Alabama, Quinn Ewers, was injured early in the game. And he’ll be starting again, doing a great job. If he gets hurt, he’s got a pretty good backup in Manning.”

Abbott directly credited Young helping lead Alabama past Texas on September 10 in a 20-19 nailbiter. “Texas was ahead until, like, the last 15 seconds of the game,” Abbott prefaced before saying, “And Texas would have won it had it not been for what was then the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young, being able to evade a tackle that would have led to a sack that would have prevented Alabama from getting within field goal range to win the game. That’s how close the game was.”