Alabama Football: On Crimson Tide QB rooms and change

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

An Alabama Football era ended with the 2022 Sugar Bowl. As eras go, it was a short one. Technically it lasted three seasons, but the first season was just a tease to the two that followed.

It was the Alabama Football, Bryce Young era.

A good number of Alabama Crimson Tide fans rate Bryce Young as the best Alabama quarterback of all time. Even those who argue Bryce was second, third, or fourth best in Crimson Tide history agree the young man sometimes had a magical impact on games.

That he, like Tua Tagovailoa, never won an Alabama National Championship as a starter, is one of the cruelest results in Alabama football history.

Now, another young man must step into Young’s shoes. Like all Alabama quarterbacks going back at least to Joe Namath, Young’s successor will be defined by winning or not winning a National Championship.

Are any of the current four Crimson Tide QBs up to the task? There is no doubt every one of them believes they are. As a starting point, such confidence is essential.

It is impossible to think about how well the Crimson Tide’s next QB starter will do, without thinking about Bill O’Brien’s replacement. Talented quarterbacks can be good under many OCs, but for them to be great takes a special alchemy of scheme and execution only top Offensive Coordinators provide.

The Crimson Tide’s next OC will be under as much pressure as will Young’s successor. So be it, it comes with the territory.

Alabama football fans must face the reality that Young’s poise under stress and skillful point-guard-like decision-making may not be replaceable. Next season’s Crimson Tide starter will need a better offensive line, and a better receiver group than Young played with, in the 2022 season.

All the Crimson Tide QBs will be developed into leaders, but ‘the guy’ will have to earn his leadership role on the field, against tough competition.

Alabama Football 2023 Quarterback Room

Redshirt sophomore Jalen Milroe goes into the spring as the only Crimson Tide QB with meaningful college snaps. He is the heir apparent to Young, bringing a much different skill set that needs continued improvement.

Redshirt freshman, Ty Simpson is far behind Milroe in game experience. Simpson, though, is believed to have an advantage over Milroe as a passer. Simpson’s potential suggests he could become the Tide starter next fall.

Freshmen Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan will be the Tide’s waiting-in-the-wings guys in the 2023 season. Unless either Milroe or Simpson is lost to injury. In that situation, one of the freshmen will be a play away from being QB1. Both young men have the potential to become future Alabama football stars.

Going beyond the 2023 season, Alabama has a verbal commitment from consensus, 2024 5-Star, Julian Sayin. Every program wants Sayin. Adding him to the Tide’s 2024 QB room will elicit vigilance from Holman Wiggins, Nick Saban and the Tide’s next OC.

Adding Sayin in 2024 will not mean Alabama will have five scholarship quarterbacks. Transfer decisions will reduce the number to no more than four.

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Alabama fans have been known for viewing the impact of incoming quarterbacks as something akin to a Second Coming. Sayin’s potential will likely fuel such expectations again.