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What makes Jalen Milroe a viable option as Alabama’s starting QB

Alabama QB Jalen Milroe (#2) tosses a pass during 2022 Spring Football Practice
Photo by Kent Gidley of Alabama Athletics

The University of Alabama returns to a quarterback competition for the first time since 2014.

No one knows who has the edge between Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson, but spring practice starts Monday. Both guys are talented; however, who is better suited to lead the program to a national championship? Crimson Tide fans want this question to be answered either in spring practice or fall camp. This year’s spring game will be entertaining, but it is time to discuss why Milroe is a viable option to win the job. The native Texan enters his third year as a former four-star in the 2021 signing class.

Experience in tough SEC games

Milroe got live action last season against Arkansas and Texas A&M.

It came at the expense of Bryce Young hurting his shoulder, but Milroe got some experience against two tough defenses.

RELATED: Jalen Milroe’s high school coach says he’s ‘locked in’ on Alabama’s QB competition

He stabilized the offense against the Razorbacks, accounting for 156 total yards (91 rushing, 65 passing) and two touchdowns in a 49-26 victory for the Crimson Tide. People talk about his mistakes versus the Aggies, yet Milroe posted three touchdown passes in a 24-20 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He will learn to take better care of the football, but Nick Saban values experience in marquee games from his quarterback. Milroe has that going for him and can draw from that in spring ball.

Elite Athleticism

Milroe is one of if not the fastest player on Alabama’s team.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has explosiveness as a runner. He possesses the ability to run past defenders and run through defenders. Milroe showed this skill set against Arkansas on a 77-yard sprint downfield. He eluded linebacker Bumper Pool and accelerated down the sideline. Milroe could have scored if not for a defender catching him from behind inside the 5-yard line.

His mobility makes him a nightmare for defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs.

Tommy Rees’ production with mobile QBs

Blake Sims was not the popular choice for Alabama’s starting quarterback in 2014, but Lane Kiffin helped him.

Tommy Rees has a chance to help Milroe prove his doubters wrong.

RELATED: Blake Sims’ advice to Jalen Milroe in spring QB competition for Alabama: “Control what you can control”

The 30-year-old mentored signal-callers to success at Notre Dame that were not as talented as Milroe. Ian Book had mobility in his game, and Rees pushed him to lead the Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoff a couple of times. Rees took Jack Coan, an Indiana transfer, and propelled him to have his best season as a quarterback in 2021. Drew Pyne tossed for 22 touchdowns to six interceptions in 2022 as Notre Dame went 9-4. Brandon Wimbush was the quarterback in 2017 when Rees served as a quarterback coach. He guided Wimbush to 30 total touchdowns, including 16 touchdown passes to six picks.

Kiffin tweaked Sims’ game a little, and it got him to succeed. Rees potentially can do the same for Milroe.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 15 years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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