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Alabama’s Nick Saban likens quarterback search to grandma’s cooking: ‘Let the cake bake’

For the past two seasons, the quarterback position at Alabama has been set, led by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. 

Young, who led the Crimson Tide to the national championship game in 2021 while winning the Heisman Trophy, was selected first overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2023 NFL Draft. 

Bryce Young celebrates against Arkansas

Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates on the sidelines after his team scored a touchdown against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Oct. 1, 2022, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Alabama will enter the 2023 college football season with questions at the quarterback position following Young’s departure. 

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“We have three guys that are competing for that position right now,” Saban said Wednesday. “All those players are getting better, and it’s important for us that all those players get better. I don’t think anybody has actually separated themselves yet to this point and I don’t think it’s something we’re trying to rush.” 

The Crimson Tide returned quarterback Jalen Monroe from the 2022 roster and added Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner.

Redshirt freshman Ty Simpson also is in the mix after attempting five passes in 2022.  

Alabama QB Jalen Milroe during warmups

Head coach Nick Saban of the Crimson Tide during warmups before the Texas A&M Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 08, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“I used the analogy earlier, grandma Saban used to bake the best cakes in the world and I used to stand by the oven when I was a kid and say, ‘When’s this cake going to be done? When’s this cake going to be done?’” Saban continued. “And she said, ‘If I don’t let it go through and take it out of the oven too soon, it’s gonna turn to mush. So, it won’t be a really good cake.’

“So, I think we’ve got to let this sort of develop and make sure we let the cake bake until somebody separates themselves. And all the players are working hard, they all have a good attitude, they’re all competing well.”

Monroe was the backup to Young last season, getting the start against Texas A&M in Week 6 as Young sat with an injury. 

Nick Saban speaks at SEC Media Days

Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks during SEC Media Days at Grand Hyatt Nashville on July 19, 2023, in Tennessee. (Johnnie Izquierdo/Getty Images)

While at Notre Dame, Buchner started the 2022 season as the starter before getting injured in the second game.  

“I use the cake analogy because it’s not done yet,” Saban said when discussing his quarterback room. “There’s not a decision that needs to be made at this point in time, nor are we ready to make a decision at this time until somebody separates themselves.” 

Alabama opens the 2023 season on Sept. 2 against Middle Tennessee State.

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