Alabama coach Nick Saban has shed new light on star quarterback Bryce Young’s shoulder sprain. The Heisman Trophy winner is questionable for the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide’s home game Saturday against Texas A&M (8 p.m., CBS).
“I mean, the only thing I would tell Bryce is, ‘Don’t put yourself in a bad position,'” Saban said at his weekly press conference on Monday. “He could have thrown the ball away before, and he could have just let the guy tackle him. In either case, he probably wouldn’t have an issue.”
Instead, Young tried to make a play at Arkansas while going down after a hit in the second quarter. And I mean, just before he hit the ground. And his attempted pass was more like a lateral – a weak one with no chance of a completion. As a result, he landed awkwardly on his right, throwing shoulder and sprained it.
On Young’s next pass, he realized his shoulder was hurt and left the game. The junior who threw for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns last season, is day-to-day as Saban is unsure when Young will throw the ball this week.
Young’s In His Second Season As Alabama’s Starter
“Putting himself in the awkward position of trying to throw the ball on his way down, and then landing the way he did – just try to avoid those types of circumstances and situations for any injury,” Saban said. “But again, that’s not a criticism.”
Well, actually it is, and it is a good one.
“It’s a teaching moment that players have to learn,” Saban said. “And the thing about great competitors, and Bryce is a great competitor, is they always want to make a play. They’re going to go to the last, nth degree to make a play.”
And Young literally did that. He was a fraction of a second from landing normally.
“But sometimes you’ve got to know when there’s no play to be made,” Saban said. “And now it’s time to not put yourself at risk.”
Redshirt freshman Jalen Milroe replaced Young with a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and quickly ran and threw for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead. He finished the game and led Alabama to a 49-24 win, completing 4 of 9 passes for 64 yards with a 22-yard touchdown and rushing six times for 91 yards with a 3-yard touchdown. His 77-yard run set up a touchdown that gave the Tide a 35-23 lead in the fourth quarter after Arkansas had come back with two third quarter touchdowns.
“He’s going to be day-to-day when he can get back to throwing,” Saban said of Young. “We’ll just have to evaluate it day to day. So, I can’t tell you if that’s going to be today, tomorrow, or the next day.”
In the meantime, Milroe will be getting the practice with the first team. Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) is a 24-point favorite over Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1 SEC).
Saban was asked if there was a special package for Milroe, and he pulled a Saban, so to speak.
“We already have one. You want us to put a new one together just cause he might play? Or use the old one? I mean, we can do either one,” Saban said sarcastically. “I’ll go to the offensive coaches and see. I don’t talk to Jimbo on a regular basis, but I’ll call him and tell him right now after the conference if you want me to.”
That would be Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M’s head coach who had a feud with Saban that went viral last spring.
“You guys think I’m going to tell you what we’re going to do with our offense and our team? You might as well make it up,” Saban said.
Interestingly, Fisher made a similar comment when asked what his plans at quarterback were this week since he also had his starting quarterback hurt on Saturday. Max Johnson is also “day-to-day” with a thumb injury on his left, throwing hand suffered in the loss at Mississippi State. Haynes King, who was benched in favor of Johnson three weeks ago, would likely start at quarterback Saturday if Johnson can’t go. And Fisher also said true freshman Conner Weigman is ready.
“I don’t know,” Fisher said when asked if he anticipated King starting at Alabama. “We’ll go day-to-day. What do you want me to do? Call Nick and tell him? I mean, guys, come on.”