One quarterback? Two quarterbacks? Alabama football, Florida Gators in different boats on QBs | Hurt
There’s a hackneyed football adage that says “if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any.” The addendum should be that “if you only have one, you’re nervous all the time.”
Nick Saban and Dan Mullen explored both sides of that on Monday. For Saban’s part, there aren’t any questions. The workload is squarely on Alabama football sophomore quarterback Bryce Young. For Mullen, who has been alternating two quarterbacks, Anthony Richardson and Emory Jones, there has been nothing publicly decided about the Alabama game. Perhaps Richardson’s tweaked hamstring has something to do with that, although he seems to be in the same day-to-day mode as Alabama linebacker Will Anderson and his sore knee.
“We have two really good quarterbacks,” Mullen said Monday. “You’ll see both of them play every single game.”
Of course, college football fans at every school in America love a good quarterback controversy more than a tailgate platter of wings. Florida is no exception. In their case, the big (236-pound), athletic Richardson is (if healthy) the darling du jour.
Mullen claims he is immune to suggestions.
"I don't listen to many suggestions unless you're in our staff meeting,” he said. “I don't run down to Shands Hospital and say, ‘You should do this procedure this way.'”
Saban said it makes slim difference to Alabama’s encyclopedic preparation either way.
“I don’t think you prepare differently,” Saban said Monday. “Both guys have the ability to make plays passing, and they run the same sort of quarterback runs with both guys. When the quarterback can run and they run quarterback runs, it’s almost like playing against Wildcat, so they’ve got an extra blocker. But they also have the ability to make big plays in the passing game, which they’ve made and been pretty efficient in the passing game. It’s more challenging when you play against guys (who) are very efficient, effective passers as well as runners."
What was more intriguing, perhaps, was Saban’s answer to a question about his own quarterback situation. Alabama is essentially a one-quarterback team. Young played deep into the third quarter against FCS opponent Mercer and, unless things get unexpectedly out of hand, he’s definitely not splitting time against Florida. But sometimes a coach’s hand is forced by circumstances. So what might happen in an “if” scenario?
“We are trying to get both guys (Paul Tyson and Jalen Milroe) experience because I think that both guys have ability to do certain things,” Saban said. “Maybe if something happened to Bryce, we’d maybe use both guys’ skill-set to help us at that position. I know that doesn't necessarily answer your question, but right now Paul (Tyson) is the second guy and Jalen (Milroe) is a developmental guy but doing things that he does well. That is the best way I guess I could answer that.”
Alabama would be a drastically different offense with either backup quarterback, probably more run-oriented if an offensive line that has been inconsistent through two games allows it. The Swamp would not be a very friendly test lab.
Reach Cecil Hurt at email@example.com or via Twitter @cecilhurt.