And, in other news, you have to pay your taxes and you will die.
During his very successful time at Alabama, Nick Saban has relied on “game managers” at quarterback, whether it be John Parker Wilson or Greg McElroy or AJ McCarron. While the latter would buck against and bristle at such a label, it is what it is: the Tide head coach views turnovers and mental mistakes and bad decisions at the most critical position on the field in roughly the same way he views the proliferation of up-tempo offenses.
With Alabama kicking off spring practice Saturday, and with McCarron not under center for the first time in three years. the Tide has officially commenced the process of replacing the player who was partly responsible for BCS titles in 2011 and 2012. When asked what particular traits he was looking for in the player who will be expected to fill the void created by McCarron’s departure, Saban’s response was, well, predictable of someone who leans heavily on the managing of a game.
“We’re looking for the guy — success is defined by consistency in performance, alright,” Saban said according to al.com. “So who can be the most consistent guy doing his job well at that position? Alright, now that’s a critical position because that guy distributes the ball to someone on every down, whether he hands it to them, throws it to them. The choices and decisions that they have to make goes a long way in how effective and efficient your offense runs.”
As it stands now, Blake Sims is the only quarterback on the roster who has thrown a pass at the collegiate level. Also a part of the competition, at least in the early portion of the 15 spring sessions, are sophomore Alec Morris, redshirt freshmen Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod and true freshman David Cornwell. Sims served as McCarron’s primary backup in 2013, while Bateman and Cornwell are four-star members of UA’s 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes, respectively.
“I think all of you know that the quarterback competition this spring is going to be something that a lot of people are going to get a lot of opportunity at,” Saban said yesterday. “Jacob is not going to be here in the spring, but he’s certainly going to get an opportunity when he gets here as well.
“That’s going to be the goal, to develop each of our quarterbacks and see which one we feel give would have the best opportunity to be successful next year.
One (significant) part of the equation who’s missing, one who some (most?) expect to be under center when the Tide takes the field for the season opener against West Virginia, is the Jacob to which Saban referred. After graduating from Florida State in May, Jacob Coker will officially transfer to Alabama and enter the quarterback fray this summer. Coker was reportedly neck-and-neck with 2013 Heisman winner Jameis Winston in the run-up to the Seminoles’ BCS title run; that “close” competition in tandem with Coker’s physical gifts equates to the quarterback competition in Tuscaloosa this spring serving as nothing more than a structured dress rehearsal for the real battle that begins in earnest in early August.
Or, as al.com put it: “Coach Nick Saban is quick to point out Florida State transfer Jacob Coker won’t be here until summer, so the spring is still an incomplete race.”
In other words, take any reports coming out of Tuscaloosa over the next month or so on the state of the quarterback race with a rather sizable grain of salt.
“You guys are going to ask me at least 1,000 times between now and the first game who’s the first-team quarterback,” Saban told the media earlier this month, “and I’m telling you right now you’re probably going to get a 1,000 ‘We’re going to wait and see.’”
Again. Grain of salt.