Every Monday, right here you can read Tide Takes, where we’ll get into a different topic on the Crimson Tide, break down the previous game, preview the upcoming game, and everything in between.
In this week’s edition, the Crimson Tide are officially 1-0, Jalen Milroe is QB1, and Texas is coming to town next week. Let’s break down what we saw in week one and what we could see in week two:
First and foremost, props to Milroe. And before you say it, yes I understand it was just a game against Middle Tennessee State and one where Alabama was supposed to blow the doors off them. That being said, Milroe played as well as one could have possibly hoped for in week one. He looked more poised as a passer, electric as always as a runner, and overall just more comfortable and ready to go.
Milroe was the first QB in Alabama history to throw for three touchdowns and rush for two in a single game. He finished with nearly 200 yards passing along with being the Tide’s leading rusher with 48 yards. It was about as good as you could have hoped for.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 2, 2023
It appears Nick Saban got the decision right. Now, does this mean Milroe is an elite quarterback? Probably not. He did make a couple of throws he was lucky to get away with along with the fact that he does not have the strongest arm. But Alabama doesn’t need Milroe to be Bryce Young. They simply need him to be efficient and effective, and he was certainly that.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the fact that Ty Simpson has been demoted to QB3 duties behind Tyler Buchner. It makes you wonder, what went wrong for Simpson over the past couple of months? Whether it be too many turnovers, a lack of understanding of the playbook, or a combination of both, seeing Simpson in true mop-up duty was not something Alabama fans expected.
One game in, for better or worse, Milroe is the quarterback. Of course, next week is the first real test under pressure, but Milroe did what he was supposed to do and should continue to improve.
Another encouraging sign from Saturday was the defense. Kevin Steele appears to have brought back a level of nastiness to Alabama that the defense has been missing over the last few seasons. The unit looked fast, aggressive, and hungry. Deontae Lawson was fantastic and is on the verge of being a star, as is Caleb Downs.
Someone else I was extremely impressed with, though he only had four carries, was freshman running back Justice Haynes. Haynes averaged over 7 yards a touch on those 4 carries and seems to have a different gear than the rest. He will prove to be too good to keep off the field as the season goes along.
So now we arrive at Texas. The Longhorns are without a doubt talented enough to come in to Bryant-Denny Stadium and win this game.
In Milroe’s first real test, Alabama will need to turn it up a notch to avoid an early season loss. Complimentary football will be the name of the game. Avoid turnovers, play solid defense, and Alabama should beat Texas.
Alabama is facing one of its toughest early season tests in recent memory. But the biggest question of the offseason has been answered, and the Crimson Tide have its QB. And no, Milroe is not Bryce Young. Nobody is, and it’s not a fair comparison.
But he can be Jalen Milroe. And maybe, just maybe, he is a pretty dang good quarterback too.
You can follow Michael Brauner on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP