Blog Entry

Rebels have leader in QB race, Tide still looking

Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 1:08 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Having already updated the quarterback battle at one of the two SEC co-favorites earlier today in LSU , it's worth a look at how the same issue is playing out at the other, Alabama. The only problem is that at this stage, it doesn't sound like there's anything to report in the push-and-pull between redshirt freshman Phillip Sims and third-year sophomore A.J. McCarron (pictured):
The final decision of choosing a replacement for two-year starter Greg McElroy, ultimately to be made by coach Nick Saban, isn't expected until preseason practice.

Saban immediately addressed the current quarterback situation [following Saturday's closed scrimmage], but gave little away and discredited the statistics because the format of the scrimmage was not a true game format.

"Stats only tell you so much, and that's not how we make our evaluations," Saban said. "There are a lot of things that affect the outcome, and it's not all controlled by what they do. To really get a true picture of it, you need to evaluate it in the film, based on the decisions they made, the choices they made."

To hear Saban tell it, you might expect the stats from the scrimmage to lean heavily to one QB or the other, but even there, Sims and McCarron were nearly even; Sims went 20-of-30 for 235 yards with a 3-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, while McCarron finished 18-of-33 for 189 and a 3-to-1 ratio. Though McCarron probably remains a slight favorite based on his extra year at the Capstone (and Saban's praise means that Tide fans should be encouraged regardless), it's still far too early -- and the quarterbacks apparently too evenly matched -- to declare either one a leader in the Tide's quarterbacking race.

That might not be the case down the road at Ole Miss, where Randall Mackey has emerged as the Rebels' potential starter and, at the least, the most impressive quarterback of the Rebels' spring so far:
In a four-man battle for positioning on the depth chart at quarterback for Ole Miss, Mackey seemed to finish the first week a little better than the rest. In Saturday's 115-play scrimmage, he was 5-for-8 for 51 yards and a touchdown pass threaded with savvy into the back of the end zone for Korvic Neat ...

"He is oblivious to the rush," offensive coordinator David Lee said. "Just absolutely oblivious. He sees nothing but what he's throwing to downfield and where he's going to put the ball and give a receiver a chance to (catch) it better than all our guys right now. He's the most accurate. That's why we move the football so fast when he's in there."

Both Lee and UM head coach Houston Nutt said they wanted to see more of film before making more concrete evaluations. Yet both seemed to reserve their best praise for Mackey ...

"It ain't even close, boys," a spectator said, to no one in particular, as he walked past a group of reporters toward the end of Saturday's scrimmage.
If any of the other Rebel quarterbacks could have been expected to make the battle close, you'd have expected it to be Nathan Stanley, the junior who had the job won last spring before Jeremiah Masoli's transfer pushed him into the backup's role. But Stanley went just 3-of-9 in the scrimmage for only 11 yards.

It's not time just yet to side with the spectator who clearly believes the race is over. But with Mackey's apparent momentum -- and Stanley's current inability to match it -- it does seem fair to say that Mackey has earned the inside track to be under center when the Rebels open against BYU Sept. 3.


Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: April 5, 2011 4:55 pm

Rebels have leader in QB race, Tide still looking

With the wealth of talent Bama has at the QB position, I would not expect the coaching staff to have a clear idea of who will follow McElroy at this point in Spring Practice.  I agree, RammerJammer23, that they may even get past pre-season and be playing two QBs.  It's not of great concern to me at this point,  We have a very talented team again this year in running back and wide receiver positions.  I think Trent is great, but Eddie Lacey is also very impressive.  So this is not really like having a "problem"; it's the luxury of being blessed with so much talent that we're hardly wondering around in the fog wondering what will we do?!  If whoever ends up being the starter at QB doesn't work out, bingo we have options, and great ones at that!  Roll Tide!

Since: Nov 27, 2009
Posted on: April 5, 2011 3:27 pm

Tide still looking

As much as I hate to say it. Bama may end up needing to run the two qb system for a couple games to see who wants the job more. McCarron really didn't impress me as a whole when he got in the games last season, but that could have been nerves. Maybe over the winter he has really matured at the position knowing that it is his job to lose. All I can say for the meantime is whoever starts at QB needs to know only one thing and that is how to hand the ball off to #3 T-Rich! Roll Tide!

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