(Credit: Ari Meirov on X)

Jalen Milroe is the quarterback of a College Football Playoff team.

But like a lot of great stories, it almost didn’t happen. It wasn’t too long ago that Milroe was benched after throwing two interceptions in a loss to Texas — Alabama’s only loss of the season.

In the following game against South Florida, he was benched by his head coach, and the game was almost a disaster. Although Milroe’s performance against the Longhorns was not excellent, it was still better than Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson’s performance in the 17-3 win against the Bulls. As a result, Nick Saban decided to turn back to Milroe as the team’s quarterback.

He hasn’t looked back since. It’s repeatedly proved to be the right decision, as Milroe’s remarkable turnaround has helped the Crimson Tide rifle off 11 straight wins and go undefeated in conference play.

Let’s say there’s a chip on his shoulder.

During a press conference on Thursday, Milroe, who is set to lead the Tide into their CFP semifinal against Michigan, was asked if he had ever been asked to play a different position during his football career.

Surprisingly, he revealed that his former offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien, had advised him not to play as a quarterback. It’s worth noting that O’Brien is currently with the New England Patriots, but his previous stint as the Tide’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2020-21 may raise questions.

“Shoot, you know, all my life, even when I was in college. Shoot, my own offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien told me I shouldn’t play quarterback,” Milroe said. “So, you know, there’s a lot of things I can have motivation on, and that is something I have motivation from.”

Milroe was asked a follow-up question regarding what it was like to receive that remark from his former coordinator.

“How would you feel if I told you [that] you suck?” Milroe said. “The biggest thing for me: be true to myself and stay the same. Nothing changed about me. The only thing that changed with me is I had the opportunity, and I seized it. For me, the biggest thing was to stay true to myself and add a bigger purpose to anyone’s opinion.”

O’Brien didn’t recruit Milroe to Tuscaloosa. In fact, Steve Sarkisian and Jeff Banks, who are both now at the University of Texas, served as his primary recruiters when they were still on Saban’s staff.

A four-star Texas native, Milroe was considered the No. 13 quarterback and No. 82 overall prospect nationally by the 247 Sports Composite dating back to his time as a recruit. Sarkisian and Saban thought he could be a quarterback, yet O’Brien didn’t; what does that say?

Under the guise of Tommy Rees, who replaced O’Brien at Alabama, Milroe has thrown for 2,718 yards with an average of 10.4 yards per attempt, 23 passing touchdowns, and six interceptions. Additionally, he has rushed for 468 yards and scored 12 rushing touchdowns.

“He told me a bunch of positions I could have switched to, but look where I’m at right now,” said Milroe. “Who gets the last laugh?”

Certainly not the person that’s hitched their wagon to Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe.

Despite facing setbacks and doubters, including his former offensive coordinator, Milroe has silenced the skeptics in the face of adversity and emerged as a key player for a Crimson Tide team just two wins away from another title.

[Ari Meirov]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.