With Saturday’s scrimmage, fall camp is essentially over for Alabama Football. Game week one for the Crimson Tide will not officially start until Aug. 28, but immediately practice reps will be pared down to those in contention for two-deep roles.
At least that is what normally happens in the last week of August for the Crimson Tide. This season portends to not be normal. At quarterback, wide receiver, inside linebacker, and in half of the dime secondary positions, much is yet to be determined.
One thing Saturday’s scrimmage seemed to explain is why earlier in the week Nick Saban was asking for a quarterback to “force us to play you.” It is believed Jalen Milroe has either ‘mostly’ or ‘kind of’ done that, depending on the varied opinions of sources. Considerable scrimmage work went to backups on Saturday. Four quarterbacks worked the ones on Saturday, though Milroe got more opportunities with the ones than the other three combined.
Most reports were the other three did not do badly, but none reached the ‘force us to play you’ standard. It is telling that the most buzz about Alabama quarterbacks on Saturday came from Tyler Buchner and Dylan Lonergan.
It worries some Alabama football fans that an 18-year-old and basically a Notre Dame discard, were the ones most observers noticed. The flip side of such concern is that other Crimson Tide team components in the offensive line, running backs, tight ends, and the entirety of the defense – generate so much optimism, Milroe or Simpson or Buchner will do fine.
Although not quite yet, a common fan response to Saturday was Alabama can, at some point in the season, win with either of four quarterbacks.
First 2023 Alabama Football Depth Chart
So when Nick Saban reluctantly issues a depth chart on Aug. 28, lack of clarity at QB can be tolerated. More importantly; who will be at left tackle and the two guard positions; what is the two-deep at wide receiver; and who are the top eight (the dime six and two backups) in the secondary? As Nick Saban pointed out, beyond the top three to six, more depth is needed on the defensive line, but the top three will be as good as any three in the SEC.
Running back is impressively deep with talent. The outside linebackers will be sensational, inside linebackers will be strong, and with Reichard and James Burnip, Alabama made have the best placekicker-punter combo in the nation. In case you missed it, Burnip was busting punts during the scrimmage. Also, the Crimson Tide return game should be outstanding.
For Alabama football fans there will be questions, doubts, and mystery until Sept. 9 – and likely beyond, but all indications are Nick Saban likes this season’s less experienced, but tremendously talented team. At least for now, that should be enough for the rest of us.