Alabama Football: Nick Saban's second-best decision was 'benching' Jalen Milroe

Alabama Football would not be contending for a National Championship had Nick Saban not 'benched' and 'un-benched' Jalen Milroe.
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Between the Iron Bowl and the SEC Championship Game, Nick Saban simply stated the truth about Jalen Milroe, and Alabama Football. Saban said of his quarterback, "We wouldn’t be here without his transformation." The 'here' was the Crimson Tide in contention for a Playoff slot and a shot at a National Championship.

A common storyline after the Tide's loss to Texas was about Milroe being benched. Technically, any starter losing the role in a next game is a benching. More precisely, what happened was a decision by Nick Saban to provide a test to Milroe and the Crimson Tide's backup QBs. A game against USF afforded an opportunity. An offensively ragged Crimson Tide prevailed in an ugly win but gained QB clarity in the process.

Among the three Crimson Tide QBs tested in that game and the days leading up to it, Jalen Milroe showed why he was the leader the Alabama offense needed. Looking back, Saban's best decision of the season was the 'un-benching' of Jalen Milroe.

"Sometimes you’ve got to have something bad happen to figure it all out. After the Texas game, when we took him out, it was a real thunderbolt or whatever you want to call it, that if you want to be our quarterback, you have to be our point guard. He’s done that, and as he’s gotten better, so has our team."

Nick Saban, as reported by Dan Morrison

The job Tommy Rees has done with Jalen Milroe and building offensive game plans around him has been outstanding. What Rees has been able to develop might have never happened had Nick Saban not been decisive in September. Dissension among teammates over which guy should be QB1 could have hampered the Tide's progress.

Against USF, Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson completed just 10 passes. As reported by ESPN's Chris Low, Nick Saban and Milroe met the next day. Nick Saban had settled on Jalen Milroe as 'the guy' going forward. Recently Milroe talked about his three seasons in Tuscaloosa,

"I was told I would never be the starting quarterback at Alabama. I've been told I was not smart enough to play the position. I've been told everything. Even when I was named the starter at the beginning of the season, I don't think a lot of people thought I would keep it, and if I did, that we were going to have a bad season. So yes, I've faced a lot of obstacles. The main thing is the right people believed in me, here at Alabama and within my family, and I remained grounded in believing in who I am. That takes you a long way."

Jalen Milroe, as reported by Chris Low

One of those 'right people' was Nick Saban, and his belief opened the door to Milroe's and Alabama's transformation.

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