Bryce Young or Jalen Milroe? Texas A&M has two Alabama football quarterbacks to worry about | Goodbread

Chase Goodbread
The Tuscaloosa News

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. − D.J. Durkin is seeing double this week, and the more he watches tape of Alabama football's 49-26 win over Arkansas, the worse his vision will get.

The Texas A&M defensive coordinator's task, ahead of the Aggies' game in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, will be to solve two very different offenses: the one Bryce Young led to Alabama's first two touchdowns with pinpoint-accurate passes, and the one Jalen Milroe steered to complete the victory with a less-polished air attack, but a more stout running game.

Alabama coach Nick Saban summarized it as succinctly as eight words possibly could: "There's only one Bryce Young in this country," he said.

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Indeed, the Heisman Trophy winner can do it all, from pre-snap adjustments to post-snap heroics. He's poised and accurate and dissects defenses with a level of precision that gives Alabama an edge at the most important position on the field against any opponent on the schedule.

Milroe is very different, and so was Alabama's offense over two-plus quarters when a shoulder sprain relegated Young to the sideline. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher will probably spew some coachspeak this week about preparing for the same Alabama offense regardless of who takes snaps, but don't buy it. We're talking about a night-and-day kind of difference here. Have no illusions about Alabama plugging Milroe into the same TAMU game plan that would be prepared for Young.

Saban doesn't have them, either.

"There are things Jalen does well. We practice some of those things. If he has to play, we'll practice them more," Saban said. "… Jalen can do what Jalen does well, and we have confidence in him. We have confidence in the development of Ty Simpson as a backup. Hopefully Bryce will be OK, but I thought the offense did a really good job of continuing to score points in a different way than when Bryce played. … You've got to be able to win more than one way."

While he might not have the array of different throws that Young does in his arsenal, Milroe flashed something else in the most meaningful and extended action of his career to date: a rare combination of size and skill as a runner. His 77-yard jaunt to set up a critical second-half touchdown against the Razorbacks will keep Durkin up at night. And he's definitely more inclined to tuck the ball and run for the sticks than Young, who consistently runs only as a last resort.

Then there is running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who commanded a season-high 18 carries and responded with a 206-yard explosion, easing the pressure on Milroe with fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 72 and 76 yards. He won't lend Durkin much sleep, either. He'll be the same threat regardless of who is playing quarterback, but behind Milroe, he'd figure to get more touches.

Saban was naturally coy about Young's playing status against the Aggies, although he did indicate that the sprain is not believed to be serious, and something Young has had to deal with before. The likelihood that Saban will definitively confirm Young's status during the practice week is slim to none; indeed, he joked about giving Texas A&M valuable information in his post-game news conference.

For Alabama, he can't return soon enough, because, well, there is only one Bryce Young in this country.

Durkin would be thrilled to face Milroe. But he won't be thrilled preparing for both scenarios.

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Tuscaloosa News sport columnist Chase Goodbread.