Only himself to blame

Gus Frerotte and A.J. Feeley have done their best to say all the right things throughout the preseason as they continued their battle for the starting quarterback job. In fact, the first hint of any displeasure came Tuesday when talked about having been involved in battles throughout his 12 years in the NFL and that it was getting a little frustrating.

But here's the problem: It's Frerotte who has prolonged this quarterback battle, and nobody else.

Nick Saban said Tuesday he would have liked to have determined his starting quarterback a couple of weeks ago, if not a month ago.

Well, it appeared Saban was just about ready to do that after he decided to give Frerotte all the reps with the first-team offense after the second preseason game at Jacksonville.

So what did Frerotte do with his big opportunity? He flopped.

Frerotte was badly off the mark, both against Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, completing only 16 of 41 passes in those two games.

He tried going deep on several occasions, but had no success other than a 42-yard completion to Wes Welker against the Steelers. But that was overshadowed by his missing three or four receivers open deep against Tampa Bay.

In the meantime, Feeley came in and played solid football. Nothing spectacular, but solid. And clearly better than Frerotte.

That, in essence, re-opened the battle, with Frerotte revealing that he and Feeley have been splitting snaps with the No. 1 offense.

We still don't know who's going to start Thursday night in the preseason finale and where things stand in Saban's mind.

All Frerotte needed to do in either of the last two games was be efficient and an announcement probably would have been made by now.

Frerotte's teammates keep talking about what a good leader he is and his knowledge of the offense is a bonus, but the bottom line is the quarterback has to make some throws, and Frerotte fell short in that department the last two weeks.

We're still getting the feeling that Saban would rather go with Frerotte than Feeley if he had his druthers, but Saban might find himself in a tough spot if Feeley outplays Frerotte again on Thursday night.

So if Frerotte wants to spare himself some frustration, he would do well to come out firing -- and firing accurately -- Thursday night.

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