The Alabama quarterback competition appears to be over.
Jalen Milroe, who started the first two games of the season but did not play against USF this past weekend, has “earned the opportunity to be the quarterback” moving forward, coach Nick Saban told reporters Monday.
Alabama begins SEC play against Ole Miss at home on Saturday.
Saban said that Milroe has played better than transfer Tyler Buchner and redshirt freshman Ty Simpson in competition and that he responded well to his benching vs. USF.
“This is all I’m going to say about this,” Saban said of the quarterback situation. “Jalen really showed the leadership I was looking for in terms of supporting his teammates.”
Milroe could be seen throughout the game encouraging his teammates as they came off the field during a hard-fought 17-3 win.
A redshirt sophomore and the former backup to Bryce Young, Milroe has had an up-and-down start to the season.
He was nearly perfect in the opener against Group of 5 opponent Middle Tennessee, completing 13 of 18 passes for 194 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 48 yards and two scores.
But against a Power 5 opponent in Texas, Milroe was inconsistent in a home loss. Although he threw two long touchdown passes, he also threw a pair of costly interceptions.
With Milroe sidelined against USF, Buchner got the start and completed only 5 of 14 pass attempts before he was pulled. Simpson played the rest of the game, running for a 1-yard touchdown and completing 5 of 9 passes for 73 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
After the game, Saban said he thought Simpson played “OK.”
“Made a couple really good throws,” Saban said. “Missed a couple big-play throws. … I thought he played well, managed the game well.”
True freshman Dylan Lonergan, who began the season listed as the co-starter along with Milroe, Buchner and Simpson, hasn’t appeared in a game this season.