Nick Saban hasn’t been this much of a laughingstock since his first team ever in the SEC, the LSU Tigers, lost to the UAB Blazers in September of 2000. Could Alabama football be in for a similar upset this year?
Well, the quarterback play is suggesting as much. After an entire spring of Ty Simpson and Jalen Milroe duking it out, it was clear Alabama had no answer at the position.
Milroe was awful when he played last year, and Simpson, once a Tennessee football target, wasn’t cutting it in spring ball. He threw two interceptions in the A-Day game.
Saban went out and immediately after spring ball ended added Notre Dame Fighting Irish transfer Tyler Buchner. This is a clear sign of desperation for a program trying to maintain its dynasty of the past decade.
A backup quarterback the past two years, Buchner has been playing for Tommy Rees, who was Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator and is now Alabama’s OC. He announced his decision Thursday on Twitter.
Don’t be fooled by the Rees connection. What do we know about transfers during this portal window in April? They usually make the decision after they realized they weren’t good enough to start where they’re at.
Now, you might say that since Rees went to Alabama after the last portal window closed, Buchner always planned to follow him. However, the timing doesn’t add up.
Buchner announced his entry into the portal Wednesday, 10 days after this window opened. Notre Dame’s spring camp ended just last Saturday.
All spring, Buchner was in competition with Wake Forest Demon Deacons transfer Sam Hartman for the starting job to replace Drew Pyne, who transferred to the Arizona State Sun Devils. He made the move after spring ball ended.
Simply put Buchner transferred because he lost the job. You can’t blame the change in OC, as Buchner lost the job to Pyne the last two years under Rees.
The fact is Buchner hasn’t been able to win any competitions so far, and now what should be the most dominant program in the sport just added him in desperation. In the limited time he did play, he was awful.
For his career, Buchner has completed 67-of-118 passes (56.8 percent) for 949 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. That’s the guy Alabama went after in desperate need of a starter.
Last year, Bryce Young single-handedly kept Alabama football from going 8-4 or maybe even 7-5, and he’s the only reason Tennessee football didn’t blow them out. All of a sudden, the Vols appear to be in better position again.
Josh Heupel lost his superstar quarterback in Hendon Hooker, but he secured the best recruit for the Vols in years at the position in Nico Iamaleava. Joe Milton III is generating lots of hype and is a veteran as well.
Tennessee-Alabama is a series of streaks, and with the Vols ending their slide last year, they may be in position to beat them on the road this year now. The situation is that dire.
Saban may be the greatest coach of his time, and he’s one of the best at adjustments, but he’s no miracle worker. Offense isn’t his forte anyway, and the defense already came in with a few questions.
Taking all this into account, Alabama football doesn’t have a quarterback. They are having trouble finding a quarterback. This could spell the worst year for Saban since his first year in Tuscaloosa.
With the LSU Tigers rising under Brian Kelly, UT getting better under Josh Heupel and Saban’s kryptonite, Hugh Freeze, back in the SEC as head coach of the Auburn Tigers, Bama is in serious trouble. Rivals are ready to pounce.
Add in the fact that the Georgia Bulldogs are now the class of the SEC under Kirby Smart, and the aura of Alabama continues to fade. Saban needs to act fast to fix that.