TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Alabama coach Nick Saban said he wanted to watch the film before making a judgement on which quarterbacks played the best and how the team would split reps going forward this spring.
During his Wednesday press conference, Saban said the two older guys stood out during Saturday’s workout. With five practices remaining this spring — including one scrimmage and A-Day — the quarterback race is still open, publicly. No passing statistics were provided from the closed session.
“We haven’t changed how we’re doing the reps. We’re still giving everybody a chance,” Saban said. “I think the guys that have the most knowledge and experience played the best. When I say that, I’m talking about Cooper Bateman — who’s been in the system the longest — and David Cornwell. They played the best.”
As for Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts, they are both still works in progress, which is to be expected at this stage of their careers. Barnett has been in the program for a little over a year as a January enrollee in last year’s recruiting class. Hurts has been on campus since December.
“The two younger guys, even though they demonstrated that they have a tremendous amount of upside in terms of the way they played, their consistency in performance because of their confusion, lack of knowledge, poise under pressure, whichever you want to talk about — which is not uncommon or surprising for young guys the first time they go out there,” Saban said. “They probably weren’t quite as consistent at the other guys. We’re continuing to try to give everybody an opportunity. I think we’ll probably do that for the rest of the spring.”
Overall, Tide tight end O.J. Howard said he thought the quarterbacks played well in the scrimmage. Howard did praise Bateman for his speed and athleticism along with his command in the huddle.
“He’s an older guy. He has experience, and leadership, that comes with it,” Howard said. “So he knows what he needs to do, he knows the system very well. It’s just been natural for him to be a leader in the huddle.”
Throughout the spring, Saban has praised Cornwell for his passing ability, stating that the redshirt sophomore is accurate and throws the ball well. Howard agreed with Saban’s assessment.
“I think David, he’s stepping out there, going out there on the limb, he’s making great throws,” Howard said. “He’s being very confident when he’s out on the field and whenever you see a guy doing that, you want to congratulate him. That’s it.”