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Why is Jalen Milroe the best option for Alabama at quarterback? Nick Saban explains

Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

Jalen Milroe is having a similar start to this season for Alabama as Jacob Coker did in 2015.

Coker started the first two games for the Crimson Tide in 2015 before getting benched for Cooper Bateman in a matchup with Mississippi at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Coker, a native of Mobile, Ala., proved in a losing effort for Alabama he was the right quarterback for the starting job. He learned from every encounter and pushed the team to a Southeastern Conference Championship and a College Football Playoff National Championship. Milroe started for the Tide against Middle Tennessee State and Texas, leading the team to a 1-1 start. He was benched for Tyler Buchner versus South Florida; however, Alabama’s coaching staff saw Milroe as the team’s best option at quarterback. The native Texan returned as the starter versus Ole Miss, and he showed growth as a passer in the pocket. He made one bad throw — an interception — but Milroe tossed a touchdown pass as well.

RELATED: Jalen Milroe is officially Alabama’s starting QB moving forward

Milroe took some hits, but he stood in the pocket and delivered passes to wide receivers. 

Nick Saban felt Milroe managed the game well and saw the growth from his quarterback. On Thursday, Coach Saban explained on the Pat McAfee Show how Milroe has improved and what makes him the best option at quarterback.

“I think Jalen learned some things,” Saban said. “We all learn some things. By playing other quarterbacks, we learn what they can do. We can evaluate what’s the best way for our team to move forward. Jalen understood exactly what we were doing, he responded the right way to it, and it’s obvious that he is the best guy for us to be able to move forward as a team.”

Saban said Alabama has to do things that Milroe can do to better the team.

“He is a great athlete,” Saban said. “He is a good passer, but we have to do things he can do in his growth and development so he can be successful. That is what I learned about him last week. One of the things he had to overcome, and he did in the game, was when he threw an interception against Texas. The first one he threw affected him in the game, and when he threw the interception last week against Ole Miss in the red zone, it did not affect him in the game. That is one of the things we’ve been trying to instill in him. You can’t be affected when you play quarterback. You are going to make a lot of plays and you are going to have some not-so-good plays sometimes, but you have to play the next play. You have to refocus, but you don’t have to press.”

RELATED: Alabama QB Jalen Milroe is ‘more comfortable’ in the pocket, per Nick Saban

Saban equates the quarterback for Alabama football to a point guard in basketball.

“You don’t have to score 35 points a game to be a good point guard,” he said. “If you get 13 assists, play good defense, and don’t turn the ball over, you have played a good game because you distributed the ball to the right guys, and they can score.”

Saban said the biggest job for a quarterback is distributing the ball.

He mentioned to McAfee that if Alabama can consistently have that with Milroe, then the offense will have success. Saban wants Milroe not to have the mindset of, “I have to make the play.” He wants him to trust the players around him to do their jobs.

We saw the trust against Mississippi, but it is something Saban wants to build off of. 

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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 10+ 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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