Seven things Tyler Buchner has done that Alabama's other QBs haven't | Goodbread
Who is Tyler Buchner?
Let's start with these facts. He's the only Alabama quarterback to have done the following:
1) Won a starting job to begin a season.
2) Started more than one college game.
3) Completed a pass of 50-plus yards in a college game.
4) Thrown for 200-plus yards in a game.
5) Played a complete game turnover-free.
6) Started a bowl game.
7) Won a bowl game.
All that, of course, speaks more to the Crimson Tide's inexperience at the game's most important position than it does about its new transfer from Notre Dame.
Buchner earned the starting job for the Fighting Irish out of fall camp last year, only to be knocked out for the season in his second game with a shoulder injury. He came back for the Gator Bowl and threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns, along with three interceptions, as Notre Dame upended a South Carolina team that was coming off upset wins over Tennessee and rival Clemson.
SHADOWING REES:Following Tommy Rees at A-Day: What we learned about Alabama football offensive coordinator
INCOMING:Alabama football lands Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner from transfer portal
It's been almost exactly five years since Alabama first offered Buchner a scholarship in May of 2018, when he was a good enough prospect to draw that offer before he'd even taken a snap as a high school sophomore. Since then, Alabama has generated a Heisman Trophy winner and two first-round draft picks at quarterback, but is now left to sort through a collection of quarterbacks with bodies of work that range from very small to zero.
Yes, he spent two years under new Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, and there's no way his move to Tuscaloosa would've happened without Rees' endorsement. And the fact that Saban thought enough of him to extend a scholarship offer before he even had a driver's license is an endorsement all its own, regardless of how much time has passed or what has transpired since.
Those relationships alone won't buy Buchner a step up the depth chart ladder, but Saban doesn't bring in portal additions if he doesn't think they can impact the competition at a given position. In that sense, adding Buchner makes plenty of sense, because if anything was evident from last weekend's A-Day scrimmage, it's that the Alabama quarterback job is a ways from being won.
His candidacy for the job, despite his limited production at Notre Dame, shouldn't be dismissed.
At the same time, Buchner doesn't exactly fit the profile for an Alabama portal addition. Saban, with a couple exceptions, has leaned toward more proven players − Henry To'o To'o, Tyler Steen, Jahmyr Gibbs, Jermaine Burton, Eli Ricks − which makes this move somewhat of a head-scratcher. It will certainly make more sense if Alabama loses a quarterback to the transfer portal between now and April 30, when it closes for the summer and won't re-open until December.
Buchner's addition by itself is a test of forbearance for Alabama's other four passers, and if he impresses the coaching staff, it will be even more so. In the transfer portal era, quarterbacks have less patience for sitting on the bench than any other position, and having five on scholarship makes for an awfully crowded QB room.
If there's no exiting transfer by the end of the weekend, there will almost certainly be one, or more, come December. Until then, the Alabama quarterback job is a wide-open race with nobody in the pole position.
And now there's a new car on the track.
Tuscaloosa News columnist Chase Goodbread is also the weekly co-host of Crimson Cover TV on WVUA-23 and the Talkin' Tide podcast. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @chasegoodbread.