3. Who does new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees start at quarterback?
Times have certainly changed at Alabama in the last eight seasons. Gone are the days of the serviceable quarterback. No more Jake Coker or AJ McCarron handing the ball to the likes of Derek Henry, Mark Ingram, Bo Scarborough, or TJ Yeldon and bashing the opposition with a physical defense.
Tempo offenses forced Saban to adjust and change his philosophy on winning football. From Jalen Hurts to Bryce Young, the Crimson Tide have been dynamic at quarterback since 2016. That begs the question, “Who starts at quarterback this fall?”
New offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has the unenviable job of coming in as a new offensive coordinator and figuring out who succeeds Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young as QB1 of the Tide. Fortunately for Rees, the cupboard is not bare, and he has three blue chippers to choose from.
Jalen Milroe: The four-star from Katy, Texas, saw action against Arkansas and Texas A&M when Young hurt his shoulder. Milroe was solid in both opportunities completing 16 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 172 yards and a touchdown. Milroe also took some reps at wide receiver during Sugar Bowl practices and in the game. Milroe is an elite athlete and playmaker that needs the ball in his hand and space.
That ability might land Milroe at another position in the future, but he does have arm talent and would give the Crimson Tide a dimension at quarterback they haven’t had since Jalen Hurts. Tommy Rees did coach Ian Book at Notre Dame, so he knows how to coach running quarterbacks, but Milroe is next level.
Ty Simpson: A five-star out of Tennessee, Simpson was the number three quarterback from the class of 2022 behind Cade Klubnik and Conner Weigman. Simpson threw just five passes last season, but the ability is there. The ball jumps out of Simpson’s hand when he throws. He is an elite athlete that can be a plus in the running game but prefers to play from the pocket.
Simpson does have the potential to make every throw in the book; he lacks live-game experience. If Alabama moves Milroe to wide receiver, Simpson could slide into QB1.
Eli Holstein: Four-star and Louisiana native Eli Holstein was the consolation prize when the Tide knew they were out on Arch Manning. That is no shade on Holstein, the eighth-rated quarterback in the class of 2023. Holstein could be the quarterback of the future, with Simpson being so highly-touted out of high school.
Holstein has tools and a high ceiling, but he is still very raw as a passer. The Zachary High School product will have a chance to win the job but might not be ready for the bright lights and large defensive linemen of the SEC quite yet.