‘Look where I’m at right now’

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe will be playing Monday for the right to compete for the national championship when the Crimson Tide take on the Michigan Wolverines. 

Milroe, in his first year as a starter, is the main reason Alabama is in the College Football Playoff after ripping off 11 straight wins to end the season. 

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) celebrates after the SEC championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs Dec. 2, 2023, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

And while Milroe is now the clear leader of the offense, there was a time earlier in his career when his future at the quarterback position was questioned. 

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Ahead of a Rose Bowl matchup against Michigan, Milroe spoke to reporters Thursday and revealed he was encouraged to switch positions. 

“All my life. Even when I was in college. My own offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien, told me I shouldn’t play quarterback,” Milroe said when asked if there was a time when someone wanted him to play another position. “There’s a lot of things I can have motivation on, and that is something I have motivation from.”

Milroe filled in for the injured Bryce Young last season against Arkansas and Texas A&M — both Alabama victories — with O’Brien as offensive coordinator. O’Brien is now the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. 

Bill OBrien before the SEC championship game

Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien before the SEC championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs Dec. 4, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.   (Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“How would you feel if I told you [that] you suck?” Milroe said when asked how he reacted when O’Brien told him he should switch positions. 

“He told me a bunch of positions I could have switched to,” he added when discussing O’Brien. “But look where I’m at right now. So, who gets the last laugh?”

There were serious questions for Alabama at quarterback to start the season after Milroe struggled against Texas in a Week 2 loss. He did not play against South Florida in Week 3 as Nick Saban gave Ty Simpson and Tyler Buchner an opportunity under center. 

Jalen Milroe looks to pass

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe looks downfield during the SEC championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs Dec. 2, 2023, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  (Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Milroe returned the following week against Ole Miss, and the redshirt sophomore QB hasn’t looked back. He has been brilliant since Week 4, throwing for 2,269 yards, 18 touchdowns and just four interceptions while rushing for 10 scores. 

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Milroe and Alabama will be facing a Michigan defense ranked second in the country in yards allowed per game (239.7) when they kick off at the Rose Bowl Monday. 

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