Jalan Milro shows promise after challenging Alabama backup quarterback

No, there is not a quarterback controversy in Tuscaloosa.

But on a day when the future looks as general as the present, Alabama’s second-quarter quarterback Jallon Milro stands alone at Alabama’s Spring Game on Saturday, raising the possibility of a maneuver for him in 2023 as a viable starting option.

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Milro led the second team offense with seven possessions, ending with five goals, including four successful field goals and a single touchdown pass from Scrimage. It came from a 52-yard lobe from Milro to the right of second white receiver Christian Lear, who was part of the White team’s 25-7 win over the Crimson team.

“I feel like he’s grown a lot in the spring, and a lot has come to light today,” Price Young said of his backup Saturday.

In his most comprehensive live action this year, the 6-foot-2 quarterback finished 11-for-23 for 149 yards and had a game-best 107.9 pass rating. He ran eight times for 32 net yards, including a 22-yard run.

“Jay-Mill has had a good spring,” Young continued. “He’s very advanced in all aspects. You can see after a year on the computer, he’s really come to his own level. You go through the motions of figuring out what plays, what calls. He makes safety adjustments and I think you’ve seen a lot of him on the field today.

What Milro did with his hand indicates the progress he has made since last season. As a freshman in 2021, the Texas native saw a late play in four games and ran 15 times compared to seven pass attempts.

“Obviously Jalan can do ball-running plays, he did some today, but he also did some good throws,” coach Nick Saban said after the spring game. “We especially felt that we were not going to do the things he could do in the spring. We’ve going to get him involved in crime, we’ll try to be the best passer, the best pocket presenter, I think he’s made progress in those areas.

Milro, a four-star prospect in the 2021 recruitment class, received Saban’s praise after two closed fights in Alabama this spring. Even after Milro threw several interceptions in the second fight, Saban put the blame elsewhere and praised the Redshirt newcomer’s improved faith, offense command and decision making.

Unlike last season, when Alabama and Milro stepped in and switched his offense to a custom-based program with designed runs, the goal would be to keep the system intact if Young suffered an injury this season.

“Every representative he got was really a development representative in our organization, so he grew up to be the quarterback we wanted to go in. Unfortunately, a starter, unfortunately, he can go in and play effectively,” Saban told WJOX-FM on Friday.

But Saban pointed out that even if Young is healthy again this season, there could be a role for Milro and his “very unique talent”.

“If you’re going to take advantage of his playing ability, there’s no doubt you’ll get some – I do not know if you want to call them special plays or just want to do something else – it will take advantage of his ability,” said Saban WJOX. Not something to focus on because we want to focus on his development as a pacer, head of coverages, great decision maker in the passing game, I think he has done a really good job. That is our focus now.

“But is there any chance we can do different things with him in the fall? No question.”

Young, who wants to bet again as the Heisman Trophy winner, struggled to complete just 14 of 29 passes for 153 yards on Saturday. In the first quarter, a pass that deflected the defense at the Jordanian War ended in a tight end and drove Cameron Ladu into a very congested area.

Playing with an inexperienced offensive line dominated by Will Anderson and Titin Top Boss Rushers, Young took first-team offense to just one of the Crimson team’s 12 drives for points. That touchdown came from Jahmir Gibbs’ 75th run in the third quarter.

Drops also starred in the quarterbacks’ statistical releases, with second-year JoJo Erlin’s hands misplaced in several plays during a rainy afternoon.

“You never like drops,” Saban said. “I think we need to be a little more consistent. We had a few drops in the last fight where there were no bad conditions. We had a little today. But conditions can not be an excuse.

Young is on track to make a name for himself next year in the NFL Draft, raising the question of who will start Tide in 2023. Alabama is in the mix for the best opportunity of the upcoming class on the Quarterback Arch Manning and Transfer Portal. Modern college football has always been an option, but Milro and newcomer Die Simpson are currently options in the program.

Milro was sacked twice on Saturday, including a 10-yard loss in the third quarter, which was part of a three-and-a-half drive, resulting in a fourth and 30-ball finish. It was one of the lowest points for Spring Camille Milro’s second-team offense, and the first-quarter interception saw Milro throw Christian Story into the box for a defensive pass.

Simpson led the second-team offense on its other five possessions, passing 5-for-12 for 43 yards. The five-star newcomer showed interest in departure, rushing five times for 37 yards, while being eliminated three times for a loss of 19 yards.

“Die, for a guy who only came here in the spring, I thought he did some good plays for the first time,” Saban said. “He’s a very conscientious guy, working really hard. Preparation is important for the development of quarterbacks and those guys have done a good job throughout the spring.

Mike Rodak is the Alabama Beat correspondent for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter Microtoc.

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