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Solving the quarterback puzzle at Alabama

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Bama’s offense faces life after AJ McCarron

by ITK

When Alabama takes the field August 30th against West Virginia in Atlanta, who will be under center?

With Florida State redshirt sophomore Jacob Coker considering a change of scenery, the answer to that question may be more intriguing than first meets the eye.

As AJ McCarron prepares for his shot at the next level, the Tide must prepare for the future without him. If history is any indication, replacing the 37-win starter won’t be impossible…Bama’s offenses under Saban have seldom called on the quarterback to win the game for him. But solving the puzzle will be intriguing for sure.

By now we know the pieces of this puzzle, or think we do anyway.

Gone is Luke Del Rio, the most talked about walk-on in recent Bama history. The son of Broncos assistant Jack Del Rio, Luke announced his intentions to transfer this week. His next stop will possibly make him a Beaver at Oregon State. But the younger Del Rio had earned himself traveling squad status, seen signaling plays during games this season.

Blake Sims is the only quarterback on the team with significant game experience to speak of, though his playing time came in the form of late-game mop up duty. Sims is a different kind of quarterback than what we’ve seen recently. Recruited as an athlete, Sims has journeyed as a runningback and defensive back in his time in Tuscaloosa. Last season Sims was 18 for 29 for 167 yards and is viewed as a run-first, mobile-type QB. Sims will be a senior next season.

Alec Morris will be a redshirt sophomore in 2014. At 6’3″, 230lbs., Morris looks the part of the “new” pro-style quarterback of today’s game. Morris tooks snaps in the 2013 season but didn’t attempt a pass.

Redshirt freshmen Cooper Bateman and Parker McCleod will be joined by incoming early enrollee David Cornwell in the spring. Both Bateman and Cornwell were highly touted as prep players, Bateman being the No. 3 rated pocket passer by ESPN in the 2013 class, and Cornwell, a 6’5″, 241lb. specimen who many services considered the top QB prospect in the upcoming class. If any of these three win the starting job this spring, they would be freshmen upon their first snap.

Then as mentioned, there is the wildcard. Jacob Coker, a fellow St. Paul’s High School quarterback (like AJ McCarron), was beaten out in spring/summer work by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. Winston has another season left before he can declare for the NFL. Coker, who will graduate this spring, will have two years of eligibility remaining, and upon graduation by NCAA rule can transfer and play immediately wherever he chooses. An Bama fan growing up, and with the future all but determined in Tallahassee and Alabama’s quarterback picture wide-open at this point, rumors have placed the strong-armed Coker interested in a transfer to the Capstone.

If Coker does join the Tide, he’ll have to overcome the five quarterbacks on campus will battling this spring and win the job in summer practice…a feat not impossible, but not easy to do. But, in doing so he would step on campus as the second most experienced quarterback on the Tide’s roster.

(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

3 thoughts on “Solving the quarterback puzzle at Alabama”

  1. With all of our #1 Classes , and highly rated QBs we already have on campus, How does a a kid from FSU have a chance of coming in and starting for Bama? Have we been wrong on our QB recruits the last 2-3 years? I just do not understand how a kid who will more than likely miss Spring practice come in and beat out 4* and 5* players who have been on campus way longer. Does the recruitng rankings mean anything? Is there really a big deal landing all these 4* and 5^ players when they never see the field or transfer?Makes no sense to me.

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