Alabama football suffered its first defeat of the 2023 season on Saturday in a stunning 34-24 loss to Texas at home. It was Alabama's first home loss since 2019 and raised even more questions about whether the Crimson Tide can still remain in the ‘elite' conversation of the college football world.
Alabama got mediocre quarterback play from Jalen Milroe against Texas, as the sophomore threw two interceptions. The Crimson Tide had an elongated battle for the position during the summer, but that doesn’t seem to be completely over after head coach Nick Saban praised Tyler Buchner after the Texas game.
“Well, we evaluate every position every week. If guys want security in their position, they need to play well,” Saban said, via Mike Rodak. “Everybody on our team knows that. I think everybody has responded in a positive way to try to get better and to improve. We'll constantly evaluate that position as we do every other position.”
What should Alabama do?
It seems pretty obvious that after the Texas game, the Crimson Tide need a change at quarterback. Given their next game is against a lowly South Florida team, expect Tyler Buchner to get some significant playing time under center if not all of it.
The junior transfer from Notre Dame got some playing time in Alabama's first game against Middle Tennessee, completing 3-of-5 passes for 27 yards. He also ran for a touchdown in the Crimson Tide's 56-7 win.
Saban has harped on consistency and continued success by one of the quarterbacks on the roster. Alabama likely wants to hand over the reins to one guy and call it in, but if no one performs on a consistent basis, that's difficult to do. Bama has some leeway given the loss, although it'll still believe it can make the playoff if it goes undefeated the rest of the season.
Buchner didn’t exactly do enough to warrant earning the starting position, but he did enough to be given a chance. Alabama could have planned to slot him into the lineup against South Florida long before the season began. The loss makes it easier to justify the move if it even needs justifying.
Alabama football has enjoyed a carousel of NFL-caliber quarterbacks in recent years but finds itself in unfamiliar territory with a lack of stability at the position this season. Jalen Milroe will almost certainly get another shot later on in the season unless Buchner puts together a Heisman-caliber run that revives Alabama's season.
Nick Saban's squad is still very talented, although they could be a step behind Georgia and the other legitimate national championship contenders. A change at quarterback may not fix all of Alabama football's problems, but it could spark something missing from the Crimson Tide.