Alabama’s Nick Saban ditches depth chart to avoid ‘distractions’

Alex ScarboroughESPN staff writerAugust 28, 2023 at 01:42 PM ET3 minutes to read

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Tuscaloosa, Ala. – It wasn’t just that Alabama coach Nick Saban neglected to name a quarterback on Monday, but he also neglected to release a depth chart in any way.

This marked the first time during Saban’s 17 seasons with the Crimson Tide that he did not release an official depth chart in the opening week of the season.

Alabama will host Middle Tennessee on Saturday.

Saban said the official roster of starters and backups “creates a lot of distractions” inside the locker room.

“And frankly, you know, we don’t need that,” he added. “I want all of our players to continue to be competitive, to continue to compete for playing time, to try to play at the highest level. I don’t want anyone on our team to think they’re a reserve player or anything.”

Saban apologized for not releasing an outline, but said players know who should start and who shouldn’t.

When asked if he expected to play one or multiple quarterbacks against Middle Tennessee, Saban responded, “I don’t have any expectations.”

“We’ll go one day at a time,” Saban said. “We’re re-enacting the players. And no matter what happens in this game…just because someone starts in the first game doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep competing and playing all season because the competition doesn’t end like the first game in any position, including the midfielder. .”

Jalen Melroe, Ty Simpson and Tyler Buechner are vying to replace Bryce Young after the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft.

Melro, a redshirt sophomore, backed up Young last season. He started one game and completed 31 of 53 pass attempts for 297 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions.

A dual threat athlete, Melro also rushed for 263 yards and a touchdown.

“I think Galen has made quite a bit of improvement,” Saban said. “I think he’s more comfortable in the pocket. I think he has more confidence in the way he runs and the way he plays. And I think that will be key in training for him to be able to maintain that consistency in every training so he can develop the kind of habits that will continue in The game helps him succeed.”

Simpson, a former four-star prospect who redshirted last season, appeared in four games. Completed 4 of 5 passes for 35 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions.

Buechner played with Alabama’s new offensive coordinator Tommy Reese at Notre Dame and moved to the Crimson Tide after spring training.

Buechner has played in 13 games over the past two seasons, starting three times. He has thrown six touchdown passes and eight interceptions in his career.

Furthermore, further down the depth chart, Alabama also has the fifth and sixth-ranked pocket rushers in the class of 2023 in Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan.

The Crimson Tide will host fourth-ranked Texas in a Week 2 game on September 9.

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