The most-asked question regarding the 2016 Alabama football team centers on the quarterback battle. Among those waiting for the answer is Alabama Coach Nick Saban.
And in discussion of the situation following Alabama’s first practice of Fall Camp, Saban revealed that the competition for now is down to three candidates.
Saban said that third-year sophomore David Cornwell “has been fighting a little bit of a foot injury, so he hasn’t been able to do everything all summer long. He’s been kind of off and on. He had limited reps today.”
Thus, the quarterback battle includes in order of Alabama longevity:
• Four-year junior Cooper Bateman (6-3, 220), the only Tide quarterback to start a college football game, or even play in one.
• Redshirt freshman Blake Barnett (6-5, 211).
• True freshman Jalen Hurts (6-2, 209), who entered The University in January and participated in spring practice.
Saban was asked at what point he wanted to see the quarterbacks separate themselves.
“The sooner the better,” Saban said.
After discussing Cornwell’s situation, Saban said, “I think all three of the other guys have made significant progress throughout the summer.
“Somebody has got to win the job. Somebody has got to be the leader, the guy that can go out there and execute and win the confidence of his teammates and the players that he plays with on offense. I think we have three guys that are all capable of doing that.
“I would love it if one of them separates himself sooner rather than later, but as I’ve said before, I don’t think this is something that you can force to happen, because if you try to do that you put a guy in there, it doesn’t work, you’ve got to make changes so you create more controversy, I think, sometimes doing that than just kind of letting it happen than trying to force it to happen.”
Saban was asked about the practice plan for giving quarterbacks repetitions.
The coach said, "We have a plan for how we're going to do it.
“We don't just go out and throw the ball out every day and whoever runs in there first gets to go.
“Every period, we know who the quarterback is going to be, who's going with the first team, who's going with the second team, who's going with the third team and how we're rotating. It's really, really well organized. I'm really impressed with how we do that on offense. So we do have a plan. And it changes every day."