Alabama star quarterback Bryce Young (shoulder) has been listed by Nick Saban as game-time decision for Saturday's showdown with Texas A&M. After mentioning Wednesday that Young was "doing some things in practice" for the No. 1 Crimson Tide with the signal caller's status considered day-to-day, Saban said Thursday during his weekly radio show that Young has a real chance to play in Saturday's game.
"Bryce has been able to practice some this week," Saban said during his appearance on "Hey Coach" at Baumhower's Victory Grill in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. "There's no real bad damage or anything in his shoulder, so this is not a long-term thing. But he still has some soreness. We'll have to make a game-time decision before the game in pregame to see if he can throw the ball well enough to go out there and do his job."
Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, suffered a sprain to the AC joint in his shoulder during Alabama's 49-26 win over Arkansas last week. Though there is no structural damage to Young's throwing arm and his rotator cuff is intact, he did not throw on Thursday to rest the shoulder and give him the best possible chance to play against Texas A&M.
"He has been able to practice some. Bryce is a great competitor. He'll want to get out there and play the best he can, but sometimes we have to protect players from themselves because they got to be able to go out there and create value for themselves and be healthy enough to do it the right way.
"He's a sharp guy, and I think he'll know whether he can go out there and do it, and we'll be able to make a decision based on that. This is really a true -- it will be a pregame decision because the way we treated this, from a medical standpoint, is overuse would really set him back."
Young exited the Arkansas game during the second quarter following a sack by Razorbacks linebacker Drew Sanders near the sideline. Young attempted a throw while falling to the ground and landed awkwardly with his right arm extended. Though he initially returned to the field on the next drive, he went into the injury tent after an incomplete third-down pass and then into the locker room. Despite returning to the sidelines in the third quarter with pads, he didn't return to the game.
Jalen Milroe filled in admirably for Young against the Razorbacks, passing for 65 yards and a touchdown while racking up 91 yards and another score on the ground. One of those runs was arguably the biggest play of the game. With the Crimson Tide clinging to a five-point lead after the Hogs scored 23 straight points, Milroe ripped off a 77-yard run with 14:30 to play to set the offense up at the 3-yard line. Jase McClellan punched it in two plays later to stop Arkansas' momentum.
The Tide and Aggies will battle Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS in one of the most anticipated coaching matchups of the season. Saban and Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher got into a war of words over the Aggies' use of new name, image and likeness allowances during the offseason. There's no doubt that Saban will want to make a statement after Texas A&M topped Alabama 41-38 in College Station, Texas last year.
"A&M bought every player on their team -- made a deal for name, image and likeness,"in May at a meeting of business leaders in Birmingham, Alabama. "We didn't buy one player. But I don't know if we're going to be able to sustain that in the future because more and more people are doing it."
Fisher responded the day after video of the meeting became public.
"It's despicable that we have to sit here at this level of ball and say these things to defend the people of this organization, the kids, 17-year-old kids and their families," Fisher said. "It's amazing. Some people think they're God. Go dig into how 'God' did his deal. You may find out about a lot of things you don't want to know.
"We build him up to be the czar of football. Go dig into his past or anybody that's ever coached with him. You can find out anything you want to find out, what he does and how he does it. It's despicable; it really is."
No. 1 Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) and Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1 SEC) will square off at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at 8 p.m. in the second game of the SEC on CBS Game of the Week doubleheader.