Milroe, Alabama aim to ‘let a naysayer know’ during 2023 season 

Jalen Milroe Alabama

Jalen Milroe and Alabama came up with a saying for the 2023 season over the offseason. 

Entering his first season as starting quarterback and succeeding former Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, Milroe said the Crimson Tide want to “let a naysayer know” this year. 

“We came as one unit to try to think of something, a motto, that’ll our push our team,” Milroe said. “There was a lot of doubt that took place throughout the offseason, and just a lot of things that took place in, so that was one thing. We came together as one group, one unit, to try to think of a motto, so that’s one of our mottos this year.” 

Alabama looks to get back to the College Football Playoff after missing it for the first time in three seasons. If the Crimson Tide want to return to the Playoff, Milroe will be one of the key reasons why. 

Milroe said he thought his performance in the season-opener last Saturday against Middle Tennessee “was a start.” He was involved in five touchdowns — throwing for three and running for two. 

“There’s a start for everything, and the one thing I want to do is just improve,” Milroe said. “That’s one thing that I wanted to do was appreciate the win number one, but also look in the mirror and try to look at, ‘Hey, how can I be a better leader? How can I be a better passer? How could I be more efficient?’ So just overall, just trying to improve.” 

All of those skills and intangibles are things Milroe has been working on. 

Milroe backed up Young the past two seasons, exiting the high school ranks as a four-star recruit in the class of 2021. 

Milroe threw for 194 yards during his first start last Saturday. It wasn’t near his first game experience as he appeared in eight games a season ago, something that helped him remain ready against the Blue Raiders. 

“I think nervousness comes from lack of preparation,” Milroe said. “I think how I prepared throughout the week allows confidence on Saturdays. And also just trying to that hunger. That hunger to improve, just the meeting with the offensive staff, coach Reese, and just speaking our game plan. I think that’s key just trying to be the most prepared as possible and just approach everyday trying to get 1% better.” 

Getting 1% better is something Milroe strives for, and it’s something his head coach will continue to look for as he turns the quarterbacking reins over to Milroe. 

“I think he’s more confident doing a good job in the passing game. His athleticism helps him,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “I think as he continues to develop and gain experience he’s going to play better and better.” 

This week, Milroe and Alabama will play against No. 11 Texas, a team that the Crimson Tide defeated a year ago thanks to a go-ahead field goal in the final minute of the fourth quarter. 

Milroe knows the challenge ahead of him, and so does Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian. 

“Jalen is a fantastic player,” Sarkisian said. “He’s got a dynamic arm. He can make every throw in the book: off platform, on the run, doesn’t matter. He’s a tremendous runner. He’s an elite runner with the ball on his hand with his speed and his physicality, and he’s highly competitive. He’s a really good leader.” 

Sarkisian recalled recruiting Milroe when he was with the Alabama coaching staff before he took over at Texas in 2021. 

“We had Jalen in camp, and I was really impressed by him in camp. I loved his parents, the military background, the work ethic that he had, the leadership that he possessed,” Sarkisian said. “The physical ability that he had, the arm talent, the legs, the leadership, and he ended up committing to us at the University of Alabama and I think it might have been a couple months later I get the job here at the University of Texas so I was kind of kicking myself a little bit, but that’s part of it.” 

Milroe offers a dynamic athletic package in that he stands 6-foot-2 and can make plays with his arm or legs. He rushed for a team-high 48 yards in the opener. 

Milroe said he thinks the key is “just trusting the process” in order to become the best quarterback he can be. 

“Trusting every moment no matter if it’s a good day or a bad day, just learning,” Milroe said. “Learning and growing. That’s key to any person that’s trying to develop, and that’s the biggest thing I want to do is constantly try to improve, try to be the best version I can while I wear the Crimson and White.”