Saban names Milroe as starting quarterback, talks defense ahead of start of conference play against Ole Miss

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban addresses quarterback situation and defensive coordinator talk
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban addresses quarterback situation and defensive coordinator talk
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:23 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - As Alabama prepares to begin conference play against Ole Miss on Saturday, head coach Nick Saban addressed two components surrounding his team entering week four of the college football season. Before Saban received questions during his media availability early Monday afternoon inside the Naylor Stone media room on Alabama’s campus, he stated that Jalen Milroe will be the starting quarterback for the Tide and disputed any talk that Kevin Steele isn’t the defensive coordinator.

Milroe started in Alabama’s season-opening win against Middle Tennessee and the Tide’s week two loss to Texas. He was benched in favor of Notre Dame transfer quarterback Tyler Buchner in the game against USF before Ty Simpson relieved Buchner and helped lead the Tide to the 17-3 victory. It was a game deemed the right opportunity to experiment with the quarterbacks, but Milroe didn’t play a single snap in Tampa.

As Alabama begins its campaign in the Southeastern Conference, Saban likes what he has seen from Milroe from a leadership perspective and wants him to carry on as QB1.

“From a quarterback standpoint, this is all I’m going to say about know, Jalen (Milroe) really showed the leadership that I was looking for during the game in terms of supporting his teammates and doing the things that he needed to do,” Saban said. “He’s had the opportunity to play -- so have the other guys. Jalen played the best of all those guys. So, I think he’s earned the opportunity to be the quarterback.”

There was also a story floating around after Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin said that the Rebels were preparing for the Tide as if safeties and cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson was calling the defense. Saban mentioned that Robinson has been used to make communication easier to players on the field while Kevin Steele works from the booth.

“We got really tough competition coming up, but everyone has to challenge themselves I think to be their best as a player, be their best as a team guy and be their best as a leader,” Saban said. “I’ve liked this team so far. I just think our execution needs to get a little more consistent.”

Offensive lineman Tyler Booker said to Next Round Live that the players held a players-only meeting. Not much was shared as to what the meeting entailed, but the sense is for the players to play better, especially during the tougher stretch of the season.

“It’s just little things and drive-killers that tend to get us and just eliminating drive-killers and being able to sustain through all four quarters,” offensive lineman JC Latham said. “So, I know what type of team we have and I know we have the guys to get the job done.”

The Crimson Tide will kick off against Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Bryant-Denny Stadium with the game broadcasting live on CBS.

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