On Sunday morning, my wife and staunch Alabama football fan asked if I was depressed from the Crimson Tide’s loss to Texas. My response was disappointed but not depressed. Over many decades of following Alabama football, I’ve seen ‘depressed’ and now does not qualify.
My perspective is there is too much season left for overall gloom. Alabama will get better and by October it can be a football team that can win tough games and make it to Atlanta.
What shrouds such optimism is that against Texas, the Alabama football team was deficient in so many ways. All the talk about a return to murderball looked like delusion because the O-Line was well short of dominant against the Longhorns. The defensive front in terms of pass rush was alarmingly ineffective. Most dispiriting were the penalties. After all the focus to not again be close to No. 123 in the FBS in penalties, as the Crimson Tide was last season, the Tide failed badly again.
The Alabama football fans who label the Crimson Tide as soft, undisciplined, and poorly coached have valid concerns based on the Texas game.
Then there is the quarterback situation. Given all the Tide’s deficiencies against Texas, I doubt any QB on the Alabama roster could have done well enough. That is not to excuse Jalen Milroe, who made too many mistakes and appeared to be limited in executing the offensive plan.
Was the offensive plan or the system Nick Saban wants to run unsuited to Milroe? Did the play-calling from Tommy Rees fail to take advantage of enough of the Tide’s offensive weapons? Trying to answer the questions after just two games is a bridge too far for me.
What I will say is in the Tide’s offensive system running the football effectively is essential. Otherwise, Alabama must have a Bryce Young at QB and clearly, this season’s Tide does not. It is fair to ask why more designed QB runs and RPO were not used. Right or wrong, Saban and Rees had a reason. I don’t think Saban is willing to adapt an offense around the skill sets of Milroe or any other individual QB on the roster.
I think most importantly, if Alabama has a QB better able to run ‘its’ offense, than Milroe, that QB will get a shot against USF. This week’s practice will determine much, based on how the QB2 does with the first unit offense. It appears that guy is Tyler Buchner. Maybe Ty Simpson might surprise instead.
An Alabama Football QB Change
Many Alabama football fans want a change at QB from the first snap against USF. That could happen. But remember, Tyler Buchner has no more game experience than Jalen Milroe. And in 13, Notre Dame games, Buchner passed for six touchdowns while throwing eight interceptions.
For the ‘Simpson is the guy’ crowd, answer why the staff would have added Buchner after spring training if the coaches trusted Simpson’s progress for the 2023 season. Apparently, they did not, and in fall camp Simpson didn’t do enough to change minds.
What will happen next? With a better-than-expected Ole Miss team in game four, slow development is not an option. Practice this week may dictate something else, but my guess is Jalen Milroe starts against USF and Tyler Buchner also plays in the first half of that game.