Update On Battle At Quarterback

There is always interest in the quarterback position of a football team. If there is going to be a new quarterback in the upcoming season, the interest is intensified. And it seems that at Alabama interest in anything football is elevated.

Although the Alabama spring football competition between upcoming sophomore A.J. McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims is characterized as "a battle," there is no resolution expected during the spring.

McCarron, 6-4, 210, from St. Paul's School in Mobile, has an edge in experience on Sims, 6-2, 217, from Chesapeake, Va. But not much of an edge. McCarron was the back-up to Greg McElroy the past two years, though he didn't play in te 2009 national championship season and had only mop-up duty for last year's 10-3 team.

Sims, meanwhile, entered The University in January 2010 and is going through his second spring practice, though he has no game experience.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban discounts McCarron's experience, which included McCarron completing 30 of 48 passes (62.5 per cent) for 389 yards and three touchdowns. He did not suffer an interception.

"Just because someone played some last year, I don't think anyone should assume that gives them an advantage," Saban said.

The coach said the quarterbacks are being evaluated on "what they are doing right now. Every day in practice they're getting a lot of similar opportunities. They are getting the same number of reps in the same kind of competitive situations.

"I think this is a much truer barometer for us to go on."

Sabam said both players "have done a really good job so far."

He added, "Are they where they need to be? We'd like to see them both continue to improve.

"Are we disappointed in where they are?

"Absolutely not."

Saan concluded, "We feel like both guys have got some talent. We'd like to try to utilize that the best we can."

Alabama tailback Trent Richardson is impressed with what he has seen.

"Both could start anywhere in America right now, for any team," Richardson said. "I think it's going good for them They are competitive, but not like ‘I want him to have a bad throw.' Sort of like Mark (Ingram) and I were. We were both competitors, but we always complimented each other.

"A.J. is trying to help Phillip every chance he gets, and Phillip is listening to A.J. and trying to learn from the experience that A.J. has."

Richardson said there is more to being a quarterback than just the talent.

"Leadership," Richardson said. "Especially with A.J. A.J. is trying to lead the team and make sure he's the guy. There weren't many times you didn't see McElroy in the huddle getting after us if we were doing something wrong. McElroy was always trying to lead us on and make sure we were on point."

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