Alabama Football: The relationship between Kalen DeBoer and Jalen Milroe

Tennessee v Alabama
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Jalen Milroe and Nick Saban had something in common.

Though the player-coach relationship between the two was far from perfect, both men are very passionate about winning. This commonality between head coach and quarterback helped to lead a team with plenty of deficiencies, and one that looked lost for much of September, to an undefeated SEC record and a College Football Playoff berth. 

Both Saban and Milroe regularly defended one another in the face of adversity and criticism. When Milroe was officially named the starter for good, his coach gave him the ultimate vote of confidence, saying “He’s got nothing to prove here. He’s our guy.”

While the bond between Milroe and Kalen DeBoer will be unique, it appears the two have the potential to bring the best out of each other.

Early in the spring, Coach DeBoer was complimentary of his quarterback while also pushing him to be better. While DeBoer recognized Milroe as the incumbent starter, he never promised the redshirt junior anything in terms of status or playing time, instead encouraging competition at the QB position.

Following the A-Day game, Jalen Milroe discussed his desire to improve while speaking very highly of DeBoer. Milroe said that his coach “continues to prove why he was the guy for this job," later adding “You want to play for a coach like this…I’m super excited to play under Coach DeBoer.”

While Milroe has heaped praise on the first-year Alabama coach, DeBoer is making his quarterback earn that same praise. While always acknowledging Milroe's status as a starter, Coach DeBoer continues to reference the quarterback room as a whole, citing the competition and continuity within the room as something to behold. 

Jalen Milroe has already earned the trust of his teammates. Still, Coach DeBoer’s approach, along with the development of the other QBs on the roster, has not allowed Milroe to get comfortable. The starting quarterback at Alabama has to show up every day and prove it. This will make him the best player he can be and will benefit the team in the long run.