Alabama is making a quarterback change.
According to multiple reports, the Crimson Tide will start Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner on Saturday against South Florida. Jalen Milroe started the first two games of the season and threw two interceptions in the Crimson Tide’s loss to Texas in Week 2.
Buchner transferred to Alabama from Notre Dame in the offseason after Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees took the same position at Alabama.
Buchner played in just three games in 2022 because of injury. He was 46-of-83 passing for 651 yards and threw three TDs and five interceptions. After he was injured in the second game of the season against Marshall, he missed the rest of the regular season but came back to play in Notre Dame’s Gator Bowl win over South Carolina. While Buchner threw three interceptions in that game, he also threw three touchdowns and rushed for two scores.
Buchner saw playing time in the second half of Alabama’s blowout win over Middle Tennessee in Week 1. He was 3-of-5 passing for 27 yards and rushed one time for nine yards.
Milroe won the quarterback competition out of fall camp over Buchner and Ty Simpson and spent the 2022 season as the No. 2 QB behind Bryce Young. Milroe came on in relief of Young after Young injured his shoulder against Arkansas and started the team’s win over Texas A&M in 2022.
Milroe was 13-of-18 passing for 194 yards and three TDs and rushed seven times for 48 yards and two scores in the win over MTSU. But he struggled against Texas, going just 14-of-27 through the air for 255 yards and two touchdowns along with the two interceptions. Both interceptions came as Milroe stared down his receiver and seemingly didn’t see the intercepting defender lurking in the area.
During the SEC coaches' teleconference earlier in the week, Saban was asked about the quarterback position and said that the depth chart was just like any other position on the field. From Rivals' Tide Illustrated:
“We evaluate every position every week,” Saban said when asked about the quarterback competition. “If guys want security in their position, they need to play well. Everybody on our team knows that. I think everybody’s responded in a positive way to try to get better and improve. We’ll constantly evaluate that position as we do every position.”
The quarterback switch doesn’t do anything to affect Alabama’s status as a big favorite on Saturday against the Bulls in a rare trip to a Group of Five opponent. Alabama is a 31.5-point favorite at BetMGM and had received 92% of the money bet against the spread to cover the number as of Friday morning.