Jalen Milroe, Alabama's quarterback, has been on fire in the last two weeks, showcasing the best football of his collegiate career. Let's take a closer look at his remarkable improvement and what makes him stand out in comparison to his performance in 2022.
In a memorable SEC West rivalry game against Texas A&M last year, Milroe, stepping in for the injured Bryce Young, made his first career start. Fast forward to the present, Milroe has solidified his position as Alabama's starter and is playing the best football of his career. With high praise from Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher, who commended his progress during SEC Media Days and again during the SEC weekly teleconference, it's clear that Milroe has caught the attention of his opponents.
Coach Fisher spoke glowingly about Milroe's skills, emphasizing his scrambling ability, playmaking instincts, and exceptional athleticism. Fisher acknowledged that Milroe is not only one of the best athletes on the Alabama football team but also a force to be reckoned with.
When asked if the Aggies had a similar plan to stifle Milroe as they did with Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson, Fisher playfully dodged the question. He emphasized the importance of perception, discipline, and the difficulty of containing a dual-threat quarterback like Milroe, who possesses a unique combination of speed and agility.
In their previous encounter with Texas A&M, Milroe completed 12-of-19 passes in Tuscaloosa. These numbers align with his overall career performance, boasting a 63% completion rate. Additionally, he contributed 81 rushing yards with an average of 4.8 yards per rush. Milroe's explosive running ability remains a constant threat, capable of breaking free for a 50-yard run at any moment.
However, Milroe's recent victories over Ole Miss and Mississippi State have showcased his growth as a pocket passer. With 27 rushing attempts for 97 yards and two touchdowns, Milroe has become more efficient in the passing game. Against the Rebels, he achieved a personal-high 81% completion rate, connecting on 17-of-21 throws. He surpassed that against the Bulldogs, executing precise mid-level throws that had previously been a point of criticism. This newfound accuracy amplifies Alabama's offensive capabilities and adds another dimension to their arsenal.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban emphasized the importance of developing a quarterback's internal clock, urging Milroe to make quicker decisions and release the ball on time. Saban stressed the need for consistent practice and creating game-like situations to instill a sense of timing and urgency in Milroe's decision-making process.
As the Alabama Crimson Tide prepares to face the Texas A&M Aggies, who have proven to be a dominant defense, Milroe will undoubtedly strive to continue his upward trajectory. The Aggies have limited opposing quarterbacks to an average of 157.6 passing yards per game with a 53% completion rate. While their defense has allowed six touchdowns and recorded two interceptions, it is worth noting that a significant portion of those numbers came from a single game against Miami and Tyler Van Dyke.
With kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. CT this Saturday, all eyes will be on Jalen Milroe as he aims to lead Alabama to another victory. His growth as both a passer and a runner will be crucial in overcoming the challenges posed by the Texas A&M defense.