Tuscaloosa, AL, United States (4E Sports) – With the way things went during their first spring game, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban will have a hard time finding an ideal replacement for quarterback AJ McCarron.
McCarron was on hand for A-Day attended by 73,506 fans in Tuscaloosa, but only to be inducted into the Walk of Fame.
Meanwhile, his potential replacements under center looked far away from fulfilling his legacy as a starter.
Blake Sims, McCarron’s backup a year ago, threw just 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 13-of-30 passing. A 55-yard touchdown pass to Chris Black late in the fourth quarter helped salvage some of his day as the “Crimson” team starter.
Sims’ performance was a far cry from his reported 515 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in two earlier scrimmages this spring, both of which were closed to the media.
“Blake had a really good spring and did a really good job in the scrimmages,” Saban said. “I thought … the game speeded up today and he tried to speed up with it, rather than just staying in his rhythm.”
Cooper Bateman, a former four-star recruit who redshirted last season, had the two best moments of the day as the “White” team starter, delivering a 34-yard pass over Robert Foster’s right shoulder in the first half and then a 32-yard touchdown pass to ArDarius Stewart in the fourth quarter.
However, he was ultimately inconsistent, finishing with 156 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-24 passing. He was also sacked three times.
Morris, the third quarterback in a three-man race, couldn’t separate himself as a passer either, throwing for 9 yards and an interception, though he did make himself valuable as a punter on special teams.
The fourth and fifth quarterbacks in the rotation, freshmen Parker McLeod and David Cornwell, couldn’t get out of their own way, either.
McLeod came on in the fourth quarter and threw an interception on his first pass attempt while Cornwell would later take the first snap of his career at Alabama only to let the ball slip out of his hands and fall to the turf.
However, all is not lost for Alabama as Jacob Coker, a 6-foot-5 redshirt junior, who backed up Jameis Winston last season, is expected to jump right into the mix when he arrives on campus in Tuscaloosa.
“As I said all along, we recruited a guy,” Saban said of Coker. “Blake knows this and Blake embraced the guy before the game. They’re going to compete through the summer and through fall camp, and we’ll see what we need to do at the position to have a guy be effective.”