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Jumbo Package: Is Jalen Milroe secretly the SEC’s second-best quarterback?

I thought I had hot takes...

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Alabama Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a bye week, so we’re all taking a pause from football — Nick spoke to the media briefly on Monday, and will have the weekly SEC Coaches call today, but that’s it for media availability. That doesn’t mean all is quiet on campus. Fall action on the diamond is taking place:

#Team20something has predictably devoured its Grapefruit League schedule:

Patrick Murpny’s Team 28 of Alabama softball closed out its fall schedule Sunday afternoon at Rhoads Stadium with a doubleheader against Chipola College, winning 9-0 and 11-1.

The Crimson Tide scored 87 runs over its eight fall games while not allowing more than two runs in any game. Sunday’s finale against Chipola marked the fourth game with 10 or more runs scored.

That will wrap up Softball for the winter, with pitchers and catchers reporting in early February...with a very new staff, and hopefully an improved offense.

Read More: Bama Softball Wraps Up Fall Ball |

Meanwhile, baseball has scheduled an open scrimmage against perennial ACC powerhouse, Florida State, live from the Joe on Saturday:

Alabama and FSU are slated for a 12 p.m. CT first pitch at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Admission to the exhibition is free while fans are encouraged to bring their own food and drink as concession stands will not be open.

Gates will open two hours prior to first pitch. Fans are asked to enter Sewell-Thomas Stadium through: Gates 1-3 located directly behind home plate; Gate 9 in center field; or Gate 12 along the left field line. Once inside, fans are to stay in the lower bowl seating area with with access to the upper levels of the stadium strictly prohibited.

It will be interesting to see how much, if any, of ‘Bama’s late-season momentum carries over to this new team, with a new head coach. Mercifully, ‘Bama was able to retain JJ after screwing him out of the job, and those kids love playing for Jason. But, maybe a new face entirely removed from the South will be good for the program. We shall see.

Read More: Tide Baseball Hosts Scrimmage Vs. FSU |

And, several ‘Bama players picked up POTW honors after straight balling out on Saturday.

Jihaad Campell was named the Bronko Nagurski POTW after single-handedly putting Tennessee away.

Campbell, a sophomore from Erial, N.J., made a career-high 10 tackles in the Crimson Tide’s come-from-behind 34-20 win over rival Tennessee. He picked up a Joe Milton fumble and raced 24 yards to give Alabama a two-score lead and ice the game after fellow linebacker Chris Braswell knocked the ball loose.

Campbell added a tackle for loss (-4 yards) with six solo tackles. He played a key role in shutting out Tennessee in the second half while holding the Vols fastball offense to but 129 second-half yards and just 33 rushing yards in a half Alabama dominated 27-0.

He was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

Meanwhile, teammate Will Reichard, picked up yet another SEC POTW honor for special teams:

Reichard scored 10 points in a 34-20 come-from-behind victory over the 15th-ranked Volunteers.

He connected on field goals of 42 and 50 yards to extend his streak of consecutive field goals to 28.

Kicked off seven times with five touch backs and an average of 64.4 yards.

Hit all three extra point opportunities.

Moved to No. 5 on the NCAA all-time career points list with 496 after setting the SEC record a week ago.


Congratulations to both men, and Roll Tide

Look, in a past life I had my share of left-handed cigarettes, partook in the Devil’s lettuce, spliffed on some Hippie Mulch, but I’ve never been so high as to ponder whether Jayden Daniels — Jalen Milroe will be a duel of the SEC’s two best quarterbacks.

In six weeks, the SEC will release its annual all-conference teams as voted upon by the league’s coaches. There is no question at this point that LSU’s Jayden Daniels will be the first-team selection at quarterback, but there are several possibilities for the second-team pick.

Missouri’s Brady Cook seems best positioned at the moment, having thrown for 2,259 yards, 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions while rushing for five other scores. Georgia’s Carson Beck (2,147 passing yards) and Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart (13 passing touchdowns, six rushing touchdowns) are two other possibilities.

But what about Jalen Milroe? Alabama’s quarterback has a passing efficiency rating of 175.0, second-best in the conference only to Daniels’ 204.3, and is averaging 10.6 yards per pass attempt, also second to only Daniels’ 11.5.

That means when Alabama and LSU return from their open weeks to meet Nov. 4 in Bryant-Denny Stadium, at least a reasonable case could be made that statistically the SEC’s two quarterbacks this season will be facing off with the SEC West division title largely determined by the result. Milroe has been sacked 30 times this season — many the result of him holding the ball too long — and has thrown five interceptions on 153 pass attempts. His performance won’t pass the eye test for SEC observers picking the conference’s second-best quarterback, but he will have a stage on which to prove himself next week.

This will be a very interesting game though, a Cursed Football Jack Sprat. One guy can’t throw an accurate pass over 20 yards, and the other can’t throw an accurate ball under 40.


Then again, maybe it’s not that insane: On3 has Jalen pegged at No. 18 in the country...which just doesn’t seem possible. But maybe is.

The NFL may as well be an impromptu weekly Alabama Alumni Association meeting:

Sunday night showdown, between Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles and Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins.

The Eagles won, 31-17, and both quarterbacks played fine, at least by their standards. Jalen threw for 279 yards, ran for another 21, scored two touchdowns, but also turned the ball over twice. Tua threw for 216, one touchdown, and one pick.

This was the second of three weeks in which Tua will play another team that has a former Alabama player at quarterback. The Dolphins beat Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers, 42-21, last week, and will play Mac Jones (who played well on Sunday) and the New England Patriots next week.

While the Jalen-Tua dynamic got virtually all of the pregame hype — NBC had Bradley Cooper narrate a really cool essay outlining their journeys from Alabama to the NFL that you can watch here — this game was, really, a fantastic recruiting tool for the Crimson Tide.

There were 12 former Alabama players that played in this game, seven for the Eagles and five for the Dolphins. A few outside of Jalen and Tua impacted the game in ways big and small:

Stats and more right here.

But, just as On3 perhaps has Milroe ranked too highly, they also have Kool Aid ranked too low...despite being tabbed as the nation’s second-best corner:

The Alabama star was sensational in a win over Tennessee. He drew four targets and allowed just one completion for 6 yards in the contest. That’s superb work for a cornerback.

McKinstry also broke up a pass against the Volunteers, his fifth pass breakup this season. Through eight games in the 2023 campaign, McKinstry has logged 20 tackles, a tackle for a loss and the five pass breakups. The veteran doesn’t have quite the production of others on the list, but he’s been really hard to throw on.

Did these doofuses think that the reason Kool Aid doesn’t have big numbers is because he so rarely gets thrown on? It’s why Terrion Arnold has seen the lion’s share of looks. It’s why this very website (well, me) voted Kool Aid as the nation’s best defensive player last season.

We brought receipts, baby:

Kool-Aid has quite simply turned half of the field into a no-fly zone for passing attacks in an era of passing. Every week, we see teams actively having to scheme around him to put playmakers opposite other ‘Bama defenders. Kool-Aid doesn’t have eye-popping stats — just one interception. But that is because he simply is not getting much work over there either.

On the season, Kool-Aid is T-17th in passed defended (13), he is 8th in passes broken up (12), and makes a play on 1.18 passes per game. But he has hands down been isolated the fewest times too on Alabama’s defense. He is seeing about five passes his way per game. He is batting them down or defending one of them. Two of them are harmless incompletions. And he is allowing just under 3 completions per game (39% completion percentage-against, tops in the country). He has surrendered just two touchdowns in man coverage this season, and on 3rd down, teams are completing even fewer attempts — 31%. In 11 games, he has allowed just 27 completions.

In short, teams teams almost double their chances at a completion throwing anywhere other than his direction.

And he’s getting even fewer throws his way this year.

Rethink your decisions, On3.

Fortunately, Alabama may be able to unload one of its awful yearly non-con games in favor of a 9th SEC game. Hell, play 12 of them for all I care. It’s better football, it makes Alabama a better team, and Nick Saban seemed to really enjoy it as well.

For now, however, we settle for nine...which is being termed “inevitable”

“We’ll look beyond (2024-2025) and see what that looks like. I think there will be a strong push from television to go to nine games, the only pushback may come from some coaches not wanting to play nine conference games. But I think it’s probably inevitable, just my guess. A 12-team playoff helps that picture. And I think SEC fans are going to have to get used to more losses than you would normally see.”

Finally, an absolutely great story from T’Town News on ‘Bama Basketball and the buzz around the team, particularly its high-motor PG, Mark Sears:

There’s plenty of reason for intrigue around the additions to the Alabama basketball roster, and rightfully so. Transfers and recruits all have a chance to make an impact during the 2023-24 season. Don’t let the shiny new toys make you forget about what the Crimson Tide still has, though.

Particularly, what coach Nate Oats has in guard Mark Sears.

Back for his second season, the senior is expected to have a significant impact. One program source even told The Tuscaloosa News that Sears might be the best overall player on the roster.

“(Sears) is going to be our motor,” one source said.

As the No. 24 Crimson Tide prepares for its season opener on Nov. 6 against Morehead State at Coleman Coliseum, The Tuscaloosa News spoke with a variety of sources around the program about the team.

Go read that story and get very excited.

That’s it for now, folks. Have a great day and Roll Tide.