The QB Conundrum

We welcome you sports fans back to yet another exciting, scintillating and downright titillating season of the Bama Lighthouse coverage of the Crimson Tide!  That’s right, THIS is Alabama football!  No QB and a reliance on 3 yards and a cloud of dust!  Wait, whuh?

This is Alabama football?  FIVE QBs are bracketed with the first team offense?  Or is it only a mere three guys that are listed with the first team?  If the old saying is “if you have two quarterbacks then you have none,” then what do you have when you have three of them???  Or five???????????

Well, I’d say you’d have a mess.  These are the things that you can take as fact regarding the Alabama quarterback situation:

  • A true leader of the offense has not stepped forward.
  • The team’s offensive players each have their individual favorites (no unity).
  • All of the reps during fall camp have been divided, at worst, by five players. At best, the reps have been divided by three QBs.
  • Whoever the starter winds up being, he needed the additional reps in fall camp.

I came up with a new theory today at lunch with the help of a Foxy soundboard and I’d like to throw it against the wall and see how many of you think it sticks.  Jake Coker has been the #2 quarterback throughout camp.  So, while Coker, Morris, Bateman, Cornwell and Barnett have each taken their turns at the #1 position, Coker has benefitted from all of the #2 reps (when Coker, himself, hasn’t been the #1 guy).  Saban said yesterday the staff has NOT divided the reps equally so there is a decent chance that Coker has actually received a higher percentage of the snaps with the first string offense than anyone else.

So, my theory comes into play when I combine this possibility and then interpret something that Saban said yesterday – “I never said we’d play more than one QB.”  Earlier in the week, Saban also stated that he didn’t want to name a QB just have to have to “unname” him later in the season.  So, one could surmise that Saban and Kiffin have given the other guys every opportunity to win the job because they aren’t totally comfortable with Coker’s ability (or inability) to take care of the football and make good decisions.  Each QB has had his shot.  None have vaulted themselves ahead of Coker.  So, basically Saban is going to start Coker but he’ll be ready to give Coker the hook if he continues his maddeningly indecisive play.  Time will tell if I’m right and this theory holds any water….

Other Thoughts on the QB Position

I think it’s interesting to note that last year’s QB Blake Sims and two of the three kids vying to be the lead QB have actually been removed from the quarterback position at one time or another.  Remember the A-Day before JK Scott showed up on campus?  I think Alec Morris led maybe two drives as a QB and then spent the rest of the day as the all-time punter for both teams.  Talk about a demotion – I was certain he’d be transferring.

Then, this spring, Cooper Bateman lined up with the wide receivers and tight ends, signifying that Coker, Morris, Cornwell and Barnett were all well ahead of him.  Now, suddenly Bateman is mentioned as one of the candidates to take the opening snap against Wisconsin.  That’s just weird to me.  At any rate, if I were Saban I would put Bateman in the game and ask him to run the read option.  He’s the most athletic QB on the roster and it would give opposing defenses just a little sumpin extra to have to prep for each week.

Two years ago, I was totally and completely infatuated with Alec Morris.  While AJ McCarron was struggling mightily thru probably the worst A-Day of the Nick Saban era, the few bright spots of the day were delivered by Morris.  At 6’3, 230, Morris reminded me of a thicker Greg McElroy.  Both were Texas high school QBs.  Both excelled at big time Texas schools.  And both had the ability to impress you by taking care of the football and delivering accurate throws.  Then he was demoted to a punter, and he was not a very good one.  This spring, Morris wasn’t mentioned in the QB battle at all.  And now there are some (myself included after the scrimmage) who think he could actually be THE guy.  At least that was the impression coming out of the last scrimmage but, since then, we haven’t heard his name mentioned once.  Saban hasn’t even called him by the wrong name (Alex) again, either!  Yikes!

For what it’s worth, Blake Barnett will be your starter next year and, likely for the next two years, as he is an outstanding QB prospect.  Barnett just isn’t quite physically (or mentally) ready to lead the team this season so he will need to spend the year getting acquainted with protein shakes, all you can eat buffets and Scott Cochran.  However, if Barnett takes snaps for any reason, they probably just need to turn the team over to him and let it ride.

And what about David Cornwell?  Just as quickly as he ascended to the top of the pecking order, he found himself on the outside looking in.  By Saban repeatedly not mentioning Cornwell at all (but taking

Meanwhile, Coker still displays a very deliberate (also known as indecisive) approach to the pocket which leads to sacks, picks and grounding penalties.  When he hits that fifth step and fires the ball to his first read, it’s a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately, that first read isn’t always there and that’s when the cataclysmic errors bubble to the surface like a floating turd in a toilet.

QB Prediction

I kind of alluded to it in the opening paragraph but lately the tea leaves have every so quietly and ever so softly seemed to be leaning in Jake Coker’s direction.  Now these tea leaves could be a smooth green tea or it could just be tee-tee – we just have no idea.  But, rest assured Coker will be on a short leash.  I’m reminded of last year’s QB battle that supposedly left Sims and Coker in a dead heat going into the West Virginia game.  Blake took the first snaps of the game and he never relinquished the job throughout the season.

However, you may recall during the WVU game that Coker began warming up on the sidelines after Sims threw a couple of bad throws (including one interception).  I think that’s what you are going to see Saturday.  Coker will take the first snaps and they will ride him until he absolutely confounds the staff to the point where they just can’t take it anymore.

Then the next question will be “Who’s up next?”

Oy.  What a season this is going to be.  If you thought last season was a roller coaster, then this one promises to be something akin to a tilt-a-whirl combined with a free fall.  There will be highs and lows and it will simply leave your head spinning!

To the good, the staff (Lane Kiffin in particular) took a QB with far fewer skills and turned him into a record setter at the position.  All five of these kids have a greater tool set to play the position so look for the staff to develop a game plan around the strengths of whoever it is they choose to trot out there.

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