Terrion Arnold: Jalen Milroe speech after USF game turned Alabama football season around

Alabama football and Jalen Milroe found their stride toward the end of the season, putting together 11 straight wins to find their way to the College Football Playoff.

But before that, the Crimson Tide and Milroe struggled. They fell 34-24 loss to Texas in a nationally broadcast Week 2 home game — a loss in which Milroe finished with two interceptions and only 14 completed passes — then went on the road in Tampa, Florida. There, Milroe watched from the bench as the Crimson Tide struggled to a 17-3 victory vs. USF.

It was only after that string of games that Milroe helped turn the Crimson Tide's season around. On Thursday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, former defensive back Terrion Arnold told CBS Sports that Milroe gave a speech during a player-only team meeting following Alabama's win vs. the Bulls that reversed Alabama's fortunes.

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“After that Texas game, man, you gotta think, he's from Katy, Texas, so that game was very personal to him,” Arnold said. “After that game, man, we went into the whole USF game and we had our struggles. We go through that. After that game, on Sunday, we had a stretch and stride. We called a player-only team meeting. Jalen Milroe got up there and said, ‘Hey, man, we’re saying LANK. We’re preaching LANK: Let All Naysayers Know. But we’re not doing that.’

“He said, ‘How do y’all want to be remembered? How do we want to be remembered?’ And he said, ‘I just got benched, man.’ Like he said that to us. He said, ‘I just got benched. And I’m the type of person, I’m rooting for the next guy who’s ahead of me, man. I want him to go out there and execute.’ He said, 'We all have to be unselfish and buy into that.' And that’s a testament to Jalen Milroe’s character. I mean, the guy’s my best friend, my brother. I love him to death. But that right there, that changed our whole season.”

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Jalen Milroe stats

Milroe's speech not only turned Alabama's season around but, also his own. Following his benching at USF, he completed 160 of 239 passes (66.9%) for 2,385 yards and 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions in 11 games. He also added 439 rushing yards and 12 more scores to finish sixth in the Heisman Trophy race.

Milroe wasn't just impressive statistically, either. He was also instrumental in several of the Crimson Tide's victories, pulling off numerous plays to help secure a victory vs. Georgia in the SEC championship game. The week prior, he completed a touchdown pass in the Iron Bowl's final seconds — on fourth-and-31 — to keep Alabama's CFP hopes alive.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Terrion Arnold shares how Jalen Milroe saved Alabama football's season