TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Heading into Alabama’s A-Day spring game on Saturday, the quarterback race is still wide open.
As of Thursday afternoon, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said there’s been no separation to this point, but added that A-Day will be an important part in the evaluation process.
“There really isn’t any separation. And A-Day does matter,” Saban said Thursday. “I think how a guy goes out there and plays in a real game-like situation — because we’ll have the first team playing against the first team and the second team will be playing against the second team, so it will be pretty equal, the competition for each player. And they’re going to have a lot of opportunities, and how they hand and manage that is really, really important — how they manage the game, as well as the decision making and execution they have, to have success and move the team, which is ultimately the goal for the offense and the quarterback has a big part of that.”
While there may not be “any separation” at this point, Saban is on record saying that Cooper Bateman would start if Alabama had to play today so it’s not a stretch to think that Bateman is ahead of the group to some degree.
SCOUTING ALABAMA’S A-DAY
Names to know: Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell, Blake Barnett, Jalen Hurts
What to expect: Based on how the rosters are set up, Bateman and Cornwell are working with the first-team offense while Barnett and Hurts will lead the second-team offense. Also, Bateman and Cornwell must face Alabama’s first-team defense while Barnett and Hurts get a shot at the second-team defense.
It’s worth noting that none of Alabama’s recent quarterbacks have had great showings on A-Day under Saban. Blake Sims struggled the A-Day before his season as the starter, but went on to break Alabama passing records. Jake Coker wasn’t overly impressive on A-Day, but ended up leading the Tide to a national championship after winning the job.
Final verdict: Keep an eye on all four of these guys for different reasons. Bateman has the most experience in the offense, and with that, he should be able to lead the team on some successful drives. Cornwell is arguably the best passer of the group. Saban has spoken highly of Cornwell all spring, but the redshirt sophomore needs to show more consistency.
Barnett is the fan favorite. The former five-star quarterback struggled with turnovers during the Tide’s two scrimmages. He’ll need to avoid those mistakes on Saturday.
Hurts is the darkhorse here because he’s only been on campus since December. But during his interview with ESPN’s Chris Low, Saban said Hurts has been good enough “to at least be in the conversation.”
- Countdown to A-Day: Which skill players are ready to breakout?
- Countdown to A-Day: How will the defensive line look with starters out?
- A-Day festivities are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. ET. Here’s a full schedule of the events.
- Alabama released its A-Day rosters.