Top-ranked Alabama may be without its biggest offensive weapon when it faces off against Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M on Saturday.
Crimson Tide quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young suffered a shoulder injury in Alabama’s 49-26 win at Arkansas on Saturday, forcing him out for two drives in the first half and the remainder of the game.
Following the game, Nick Saban said Young was day-to-day with an AC shoulder sprain to his throwing arm, adding that he didn’t think it was a serious injury.
Nick Saban: “Bryce has a little AC sprain in his (right) shoulder, we’ll have to take it day-to-day. … He’s had these before and in a few days he starts to respond pretty well, so we’ll have to see how it goes, and, you know, play it day-to-day.” pic.twitter.com/j3npKVJXxm
— Alex Byington (@_AlexByington) October 1, 2022
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The injury — similar to the one that knocked Notre Dame’s Tyler Buchner out for the season — occurred on a third-down rollout by Young in the second quarter. He attempted to throw the ball away as he was sacked for a loss by former Alabama teammate Drew Sanders. He landed with his right arm outstretched, grimacing in pain after.
Bryce Young in the tent following this awkward landing pic.twitter.com/5ATw7wNMid
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 1, 2022
Bryce Young throws his helmet in frustration and heads to the injury tent after this play pic.twitter.com/IgrRwua2Va
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 1, 2022
On the Tide’s ensuing drive, Young exited the game after throwing an incomplete pass. He appeared frustrated as he entered the medical tent and eventually headed to the locker room for evaluation. He was suited up when Alabama came out of halftime but did not finish the game.
Now the question is whether Young will be ready to play against the Aggies. With that, The Sporting News looks at the latest news and updates for Young ahead of the Alabama-Texas A&M game:
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Bryce Young latest news, injury status
Saban told ESPN’s Chris Low on Thursday that he might not determine Young’s status for the A&M game until pregame warmups.
“Bryce has been practicing, and all week, he’s been saying that he could play,” Saban said. “But that’s going to be a medical decision. We’ve still got some time, and I want to talk more to Bryce. He’s the only one who knows how he feels because it’s going to be a pain tolerance thing.
“He’s a tough kid and a great competitor. We’ll see where he is on game day.”
He added that Young does not have structural damage, “nothing that’s going to keep him out long term,” but it was still too early on Thursday to make a call about his game-time status.
Saban on Wednesday said Young was “doing some things in practice,” though he is still considered day-to-day for Saturday’s game.
“He’s doing some things in practice, and he’s still listed as day-to-day,” Saban said. “No decision is gonna be made until he decides and he decides from a medical staff standpoint whether he can go out there and functionally do his job.”
That follows a Monday update in which Saban reiterated Young’s injury is not serious.
— #WVTM13 (@WVTM13) October 3, 2022
“There’s no updates on Bryce. He’s got a little bit of a shoulder injury. It’s not a long-term type injury,” Saban said on Monday. “He’s gonna be day-to-day when he can get back to throwing, and we’ll just have to evaluate it day-to-day. I can’t tell you if that’s gonna be today, tomorrow or the next day.”
The Alabama coach also vigorously declined to detail how the team may rethink its offensive strategy with backup quarterback Jalen Milroe if Young is unable to go.
Nick Saban with an all-time rant after being asked if Alabama will create any special offensive packages for Jalen Milroe against A&M: pic.twitter.com/uaxGp58r9O
— Sidelines – Bama (@SSN_Alabama) October 3, 2022
Alabama has also kept out footage of its quarterbacks in its practice video releases. Via Michael Casagrande of AL.com:
Video released by Alabama from today’s practice shows receivers catching passes from an off-camera passer. pic.twitter.com/Z0PEWMBSy4
—Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) October 4, 2022
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Alabama quarterback depth chart
If Young is unable to go, Alabama will turn to his primary backup, Jalen Milroe, to play vs. Texas A&M. Milroe filled in for the Heisman winner on Saturday, leading two scoring drives in the second half and helping the Crimson Tide fend off a 23-point comeback attempt by the Razorbacks.
Ty Simpson is Alabama’s third-string quarterback. He has played in three games and is credited with completing 2 of 3 passes for 15 yards.
|Alabama QB depth chart|
|1. Bryce Young|
|2. Jalen Milroe|
While Young’s absence would be a net loss for Alabama, Milroe does provide a run element to his game that Young doesn’t. That’s evidenced by his 77-yard run from him early in the fourth quarter, which helped break a 23-point scoring streak by Arkansas while fueling a 21-3 run by Alabama:
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) October 1, 2022
Against Arkansas, Milroe completed 4 of 9 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown — a 22-yard pass to JoJo Earle — while rushing six times for 91 yards and a 3-yard score.
Saban on Monday said Milroe was more prepared to enter the game because of experience he gained in mop-up duty this year:
“We try to put him in other games, so he gets an opportunity to play, so it’s not the first time he ever goes in a game,” Saban said. “But hopefully, that’s what you try to do is prepare guys so when they get an opportunity, they’re ready to play.
“That’s why you try to get guys really good game experience, so if they have to play, they feel more comfortable going into the game.”
Prior to Alabama’s Week 5 game vs. Arkansas, Saban said on his Thursday radio show that Alabama would likely tweak the game to better accentuate his strengths.
“We have put him in games, but we’ve never really done things that he can do really well in the game. He would be a guy that would be really great running some quarterback runs that are completely different than what Bryce does,” Saban said. “When we put him in the game, we’re really trying to help him develop in our offense. If he had to play, we would probably feature things that he could do better so that he’d even be more effective.”