Happy Monday, everyone. With a few practices in the books, it doesn’t seem that Alabama is any closer to a resolution at the QB position based on Saban’s comments at media day this weekend.
“I’ve told our quarterbacks fall camp is not the beginning of the end,” Nick Saban said. “You’ve got an opportunity to separate yourself, to show that you can play with consistency and play winning football at the position.
“But that competition goes on and on and on, and we need all of the quarterbacks to continue to improve and to continue to compete even far beyond the time that we name a starter. We’ve had circumstances around here where quarterbacks have changed over the course of the year.”
It certainly sounds as if this battle will go on into the regular season. Word from that scrimmage was that Jalen Milroe got the first reps with the ones but Ty Simpson got an equal share, while Tyler Buchner didn’t get many. At this stage of the competition, seniority in the program is ruling the day, though it does seem interesting that Simpson is splitting reps despite being a year behind Milroe.
What has Tommy Rees seen from the trio?
“I think they both improved greatly from the spring,” Rees said of Milroe and Simpson. “I think there’s been an extra buy-in since spring ball ended. Doing more and doing extra to get themselves prepared.”
Meanwhile, Rees also has had a chance to work with Buchner again; He played for Rees the past two seasons at Notre Dame. When Buchner went into the portal, Rees said UA saw it as an opportunity to add competition to the room as well as a veteran presence.
Even though managing reps for five scholarship quarterbacks isn’t easy, it’s worthwhile. Rees continued stressing the value of competition on multiple occasions Sunday.
Competition at the position is certainly a good thing. Those concerned that Buchner was essentially being handed the job likely had nothing to worry about where that was concerned. If he wins it, he wins it, but he’s clearly starting from the back of the line.
Kevin Steele has been impressed with Tommy Rees, and to be frank it’s tough not to be after listening to him speak.
“I don’t know if he’d appreciate me saying that about him, but he’s a very tough football coach, very, very smart,” Steele said. “But he’s the same every day. That’s the best part about Tommy, he’s the same everyday. He’s got ice water in his veins.”
That might explain why Rees once told a teammate at Notre Dame that if he could play another position besides quarterback, it would be offensive line.
“I wasn’t a very good quarterback, so I figured I could take another shot somewhere,” Reese said Sunday. “Like that physical part of the game has always resonated with me. I think the offensive line is a group that can be unsung a little bit. Really without that group of five in front of you, it’s hard to do anything well, not just run the football, not just throw the football, but really, you face an uphill battle. I just always like the camaraderie of the group of the guys up front. There’s a toughness to this game that I always felt like I missed by playing quarterback, and something that I kind of longed for.”
At some point this year, the defense is going to give up some points or the offense is going to have some struggles in a game, and some folks will again be screaming about the coordinators. That group should probably not bother reading the next two excerpts as they won’t pay attention to the content anyway.
Both made it clear Sunday they’re putting their imprint on Saban’s system, not the other way around. Steele, who was defensive coordinator on Saban’s first Tide team 17 years ago, wasn’t biting on a question about returning the defense to “the Alabama standard.”
“That’s kind of a loaded question in some regards,” said the 65-year-old Steele, who is beginning his 40th year of coaching. “This process is built — and it started in ‘07, I was here. It hasn’t gone anywhere, it really hasn’t. Obviously, offensive football has changed. It’s harder on defense right now at this present time than maybe it’s been in a long, long time. But the process is the process.”
“I’ll be honest with you, it really hasn’t been that big of a difference, because the defense is gonna stay the same” Eboigbe said Friday before Alabama’s second practice of preseason camp. “Coach Saban isn’t leaving and he’s always in that meeting, he’s always the spearhead of things, so it’s really no big difference.”
Saban doesn’t wholesale change his system when new coordinators come to Tuscaloosa. The new faces have to add their own tweaks, but overall, it’s a fairly stable setup for the Crimson Tide.
Linebacker Deontae Lawson said Steele’s biggest emphasis so far has been increasing turnovers to try and create more points.
“Really the same things, but the little things, it’s all about the little things, so that’s what we’re trying to work on,” Lawson said.
Seems like such an obvious and simple concept, doesn’t it?
If you have 47 minutes to spare, watch the entire media day press conference below.
Last, the Pac 12 has officially fallen apart.
Following the Pac-12’s lackluster media rights presentation, Oregon and Washington opted to take partial shares to join the Big Ten. Soon afterwards, the remaining so-called “Four Corners” schools — Arizona, Arizona State and Utah — followed Colorado to the Big 12. Oregon State, Washington State, California and Stanford remain in a holding pattern as Pac-12 leadership attempts to learn what’s next.
Ultimately, all six members that left the conference — eight including USC and UCLA — will make more money in their new homes. However, the consequences for every athletic department could be wide-ranging. Here are the winners and losers of the most recent round of realignment, perhaps the most destructive session yet.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.