The overriding question when it comes to the 2014 Alabama Crimson Tide is, obviously, just who will replace three-year starter AJ McCarron at quarterback.
As the SEC Network debuted Thursday, Nick Saban was part of the fledgling network’s opening day “ceremonies” and was, of course, asked about the quarterback competition between Florida State transfer Jacob Coker and McCarron’s 2013 backup Blake Sims. The head coach was genial in his responses, although, as expected, gave nothing away as far as who may be a front-runner.
When a similar line of questioning came from the mere mortals who cover the team on a daily basis? That was a different story and different tone.
“Nothing. Nothing. I mean, I don’t know. What do you want me to say?” Saban said when asked how Coker and Sims would be used in Saturday’s scrimmage and if there would be any difference from the first scrimmage. “They’re both going to take an equal number of snaps, just like they did last week. And if you keep asking questions about it, we probably won’t give you their stats again.”
Well then. Take that, bastard media lowlifes. If you want meaningless scrimmage statistics, best step your game up.
It would help both Saban and the media if one of the two grabbed the job by the throat and ran away with it, but neither has. By all accounts, Coker, the favorite to win the competition in the minds of more than a few observers entering summer camp, and Sims have essentially been dead-even throughout the course of the first two weeks of camp. That would seem to bode well for Coker, who didn’t officially join the Tide until the summer; Sims, on the other hand, had all spring to immerse himself in new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin‘s and still hasn’t been able to gain control of the starting job.
Neither Saban nor Kiffin have given any indication as to when a starter will be named. Alabama opens the 2014 season two weeks from Saturday against West Virginia in Atlanta.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah