Tyler Buchner will start at quarterback for Alabama in Saturday's game against South Florida. The Notre Dame transfer will take over the reins of the Crimson Tide offense after Jalen Milroe started the first two games of the season. Alabama coach Nick Saban commented on the quarterback change during his pregame radio show on Saturday.
"He's a very bright guy," Saban said. "He's very athletic. He makes good decisions. He makes quick decisions. He gets the ball out of his hand. He's accurate with the ball. Hopefully we'll be able to have a little more diversity in what we'll do, and he'll offer us the opportunity to be able to execute those things.
"But, again, it's not just about the quarterback. It's about 11 guys on offense doing things the way they need to do it, whether we've got to protect better in pass protection, whether we got to get open better, whether we got to make good decisions at that position and distribute the ball more like a point guard in basketball, or whatever. All those things, I think, are important to playing more efficient and effectively on offense."
Alabama's loss to Texas in Week 2 was seemingly the catalyst for the change. Milroe passed for 255 yards and two touchdowns but only completed 51.9% of his throws and tossed two interceptions, including one at Alabama's 5-yard line near the start of the fourth quarter. The Longhorns scored a touchdown on their ensuing offensive play to open a two-score lead.
Buchner entered the transfer portal in April after two years at Notre Dame and committed to Alabama on April 27, five days after the Crimson Tide's spring game. He competed with Milroe and redshirt freshman Ty Simpson for the starting job during fall camp, with Milroe initially winning out.
Buchner saw playing time in Alabama's season opener against Middle Tennessee. He completed three of his five pass attempts for 27 yards while rushing for a touchdown in the 56-7 win.
Buchner knows the offense well
Though this is Buchner's first year at Alabama, he should be intimately familiar with the offense if he ultimately is named starter. He played under first-year offensive coordinator Tommy Rees at Notre Dame. In fact, Rees was Buchner's primary recruiter when Buchner was the No. 11 quarterback prospect in the class of 2021. He signed with the Fighting Irish over several other major programs, including Alabama.
Buchner spent his freshman season as the backup to Jack Coan, though he did see action in 10 games. Buchner won Notre Dame's starting job ahead of the 2022 season and played in the first two games before a shoulder injury knocked him out for the rest of the year. With Rees calling the plays, Buchner completed 55.4% of his passes for 651 yards and three touchdowns with five interceptions. He also rushed for 123 yards and an additional four touchdowns.