Quarterbacks Have Worked On Timing
"It's like when I came in," Cooper said following Alabama's first work of spring football practice Saturday. "AJ was a new quarterback to me."
A.J. McCarron was Alabama's starting quarterback for three years. Now five men are in camp working to succeed him, and there is more competition to come when Jacob Coker arrives in the summer. Meanwhile upcoming senior Blake Sims, third-year sophomore Alec Morris, redshirt freshmen Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod, and true freshman David Cornwell will be getting the spring work.
Five candidates, said Cooper, "is not weird. It's just quarterback competition. I think schools have that every year."
Cooper said the receivers and quarterbacks "have been working on timing since before spring practice started. We tried to get together almost every day to work on our timing with the routes that are on our script.
"I think all of them are pretty good. We've been working on timing, so all of them have some good timing down with our receivers."
He said that pre-spring work is important. "You can't just go out there," Cooper said. "It would be like not practicing and then going into a game. You can't do that."
Alabama Coach Nick Saban was asked specifically about Sims – the back-up to McCarron the past two years – and generally about the quarrterback compeition.
It's a work in progress for Blake," Saban said. "I thought he made significant progress last year. I think that that's one thing that we want to evaluate and know that he needs to progress in is his ability to be a more consistent passer, especially in the system that we implement now.
"The quarterback competition this spring is going to be something that a lot of people are going to get a lot of opportunity at. Jacob (Coker) is not going to be here in the spring, but he's certainly going to get an opportunity when he gets here as well.
"That's going to be the goal -- to develop each of our quarterbacks and see which one we feel give would have the best opportunity to be successful next year.
"We're looking for the guy…success is defined by consistency in performance, all right. So who can be the most consistent guy doing his job well at that position?
"That's a critical position because that guy distributes the ball to someone on every down, whether he hands it to them, throws it to them. The choices and decisions that they have to make goes a long way in how effective and efficient your offense runs.
"So which guys can develop into guys that can actually execute and do that on the most consistent basis?
"It's all about playing winning football and that's something you can evaluate in practice every day and I think that a lot of our guys that we have have ability, they don't have a lot of experience and it would be a work in progress all spring to see how they develop. When we have scrimmages maybe some of the guys that we have practice well will struggle a little more. Maybe the other guys will play a little better in the scrimmage.
"So it's going to be a long time in us developing those players, not being so quick to criticize or quick to try to make a judgment or a decision on any one particular player but to continue to try to have the patience to develop those guys into the kind of guys that can play winning football for us."
Alabama practice resumes Monday. There will also be practices Wednesday and Friday and then the Tide will join other Bama students in The University's spring break, resuming practice March 31.
Spring training ends with the A-Day Game on April 19 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
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