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Tide Takes: It’s Week 1 and who will be QB 1?

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, it’s officially game week and Nick Saban still has yet to name a starting quarterback. Let’s talk about the matchup against MTSU and what we can expect to see at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday:

Not that we necessarily expected anything different, but we are officially five days away from kickoff, and Alabama does not have a starting quarterback named. Barring something unforeseen, we can anticipate Jalen Milroe taking the first snaps for the Crimson Tide this week. Make no mistake, all three, if not four quarterbacks will play this week, but what was an open competition appears to have been won (for now) by Milroe.

That’s not to say that Milroe was head and shoulders the best signal caller in the room throughout the summer, but it does say that both Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner did not seize the job despite every opportunity to do so. Nick Saban did state in his presser last week, however, that the guy who begins the season with the job is not guaranteed to keep it.

“You all think that whoever we name as the starter for the first game, that’s the end of it. That’s not the end of it. It’s just the beginning of it. What if a guy doesn’t play good? He’s not entitled to keep playing…We have changed quarterbacks around here a few times during the season,” Saban stated.

Take that as you will, but I read that as Saban stating he is going to give the guy with experience (Milroe) the first shot, and if he doesn’t get it done, there will be an opportunity for the job to be taken over by someone else, whether it be Simpson, Buchner, or one of the freshmen.

With Middle Tennessee State coming to town, Alabama could start Saban himself at quarterback and still win the game, but that’s not really the point. Texas in week two is going to present a challenge where if the chosen starter doesn’t get it done, it could cost the Crimson Tide an early loss.

As for the Blue Raiders, they are a middle of the road Conference-USA team who return a top running back in Frank Peasant along with a star cornerback in Teldrick Ross. MTSU’s quarterback will be Nicholas Vattiato, who started just one game last season after being named to the C-USA all-freshman team in 2021. He has thrown for 1,340 yards in his career along with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Check out his arm talent here:

For the first time in nearly a decade, we are entering a season in which there are massive question marks at the quarterback position for the Crimson Tide. I continue to be of the belief that the team around whoever ultimately separates themselves as the guy for Alabama is good enough for the Tide to compete for a championship. That being said, it certainly feels like uncharted territory based on the standard of quarterback play Alabama has become accustomed to.

While questions remain, it’s almost kickoff time, and Saban has run out of time. It won’t be long before we get some answers.

Michael Brauner is a staff writer with WNSP Mobile.

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