Redshirt Sophomore ‘Might Have an Edge’ in Alabama QB Battle

Getty Redshirt sophomore Jalen Milroe "might have a edge" in the Alabama quarterback battle this spring according to CBS Sports' Chip Patterson

Redshirt sophomore Jalen Milroe “might have an edge” in the Alabama quarterback battle during the spring of 2023 — this, at least, according to CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson.

“We’re continuing a theme from some of these battles, where the anticipation of the unknown might be taking a back seat to competitive game experience,” Patterson prefaced before saying, “That’s not the specific reason Milroe might have an edge on Simpson, but it is among the advantages he carried into spring practice.”

Though redshirt freshman Ty Simpson has developed well, Patterson notes, the coaching staff recognizes that he got reps under much different circumstances than Milroe’s spot appearances during the 2022 season.

“Alabama’s coaches were pleased with Simpson’s development throughout last season, but even Nick Saban acknowledged that work was done in a different and less competitive situation,” Patterson wrote. “Milroe was thrown into the fire on the road at Arkansas after Bryce Young’s injury and guided the Crimson Tide to a 49-26 win. He turned around one week later for his first career start against Texas A&M and had a hand in all three touchdowns during Alabama’s 24-21 win. As new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees gets a sense of how the different pieces in this Alabama offense are working together, it may be Milroe’s versatility that gives him the edge.”

Alabama Quarterback Battle ‘Very Much Undecided’

Though Milroe has pole position in the Alabama quarterback battle, he does not yet have it in the bag. Patterson feels that despite Milroe’s experience and versatility advantages, the QB battle is still “very much undecided.”

“Early takeaways from Alabama’s spring drills, specifically Saban’s assessment of the quarterback play in scrimmages, have pointed to this battle being very much undecided, however,” Patterson wrote. “Milroe and Simpson were both praised for their game management and ball security in the team’s first scrimmage, and those will be the most important requirements to meet through the rest of spring practice and in the spring game.”

Patterson notes that Simpson has not proven he isn’t ready for starter snaps “at any point in this process.”

“If Simpson, a former five-star prospect, was not ready for his opportunity to battle for starter’s snaps, that would have been revealed at this point in the process,” Patterson wrote. “Now Saban and Rees have the kind of problem any coach dreams of at the quarterback position: two good options pushing each other to improve while competing at every turn.”

Alabama Hoping it Doesn’t Need ‘Bryce Young-Level Heroics’

A major worry for Alabama is wondering whether or not the offense will suffer from not having a Heisman winner under center. Patterson revealed that the Crimson Tide are internally hoping it won’t take “Bryce Young-level heroics” to maintain the same offensive production in 2023 with Young off to the NFL.

“Bryce Young was responsible for some mind-blowing highlights as the Crimson Tide’s starter, but Alabama hopes it doesn’t need Bryce Young-level heroics from its quarterback to compete for championships this fall,” Patterson wrote.

Finding the right “game manager” could open up Alabama’s offense to being “balanced and efficient” Patterson writes.

“The game management demands come as Rees is adding versatility to Alabama’s run game and the wide receiver room looks to improve its level of play after personnel churn in recent seasons,” he prefaced before saying, “The offensive line is looking to regain its nastiness as well, all of which could set up for a balanced and efficient Crimson Tide offense.”

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