Alabama Football: Jalen Milroe has enough to beat the Aggies

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football Heisman winner, Bryce Young may or may not play against Texas A&M. For a sound reason, Nick Saban will probably keep anyone outside the team guessing until Saturday night.

Crimson Tide fans would love to have a healthy Bryce Young against the Aggies. If his shoulder has not fully recovered, saving him for the Tennessee game could make sense.

The Alabama football fanbase does want the Crimson Tide to just beat Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies. Many Alabama fans want a beatdown as payback for Jimbo Fisher’s mouth and accusations about Nick Saban.

Saban is known for the opposite of punishing other teams. Many times during his 15-plus, Alabama football seasons he has closed most of the playbook early, trying to not further embarrass an outmatched opponent. Saturday night might be an exception.

Alabama, now primarily a passing team, may not have its best passer against the Aggies. That is not a reason for panic. Jalen Milroe can do things with his feet that most other QBs cannot.

As a passer, he is unproven. In the 2021 season, Milroe appeared in four games and completed 3-of-7 passes for 41 yards. In the 2022 opener, he was 8-of-10 for 76 yards. Against ULM and Vandy he completed a total of four passes in eight throws, for 10 yards.

Milroe did not have to pass much against Arkansas either. He completed four of nine passes for 65 yards.

Alabama Football and Jalen Milroe’s Passing

Since Saturday afternoon, message boards have speculated on Milroe’s ability to accurately throw out routes. Purportedly, a Crimson Tide coach, at some earlier time, commented on Milroe’s outside throwing ability. The CBS sideline reporter mentioned it during the game.

However accurate or inaccurate was the reporter’s comment, we know Jalen Milroe is not yet a polished, college-level passer. We also know Milroe passed for 5,350 yards in three high school seasons. He threw 52 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions.

Milroe can pass or he would not be the Crimson Tide’s No. 2 QB. What he lacks are game reps in a tight contest and timing with receivers, which also needs reps.

Jalen Milroe’s Alabama Football Stats

Conventional wisdom is A&M will load the box, possibly shut down much of the Tide’s rushing attack and force Milroe to throw. The Aggies need to load the box anyway, given they are 11th in the SEC stopping the run, giving up an average of 4.41 yards-per-rush.

Loading the box can work, but receivers facing man coverage can also be easier connections for a quarterback. Plus, Alabama can spread the field and put so much speed on the edges, a loaded box could be irrelevant.

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Alabama knows what it will face on Saturday and will be well prepared. The Aggies do not know what they will face, giving the Tide an advantage. An advantage the Crimson Tide probably does not need to beat the Aggies soundly.