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Jumbo Package: Monday 17 August 2015

Quarterbacks, quarterbacks, quarterbacks...

A'Shawn is sick of hearing about the QBs.
A'Shawn is sick of hearing about the QBs.
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Last I checked, there are 21 other starters plus specialists on a football team, but all anyone seems to want to discuss right now is who Alabama will have under center. My personal take on the position is this: the team should be good enough to win with any of the contenders, any of the contenders are capable of being solid college QBs, none of the contenders are likely to be All-Americans this season, I will be floored if anyone other than Jake Coker starts against Wisconsin, and I don't believe Coker will have been anointed the official starter at that point. Of course, I was also one of the few who actually believed Saban last year when he said the matter wasn't settled after the WVU game, so what do I know? In any event, there is plenty to discuss this morning. We'll start with those dastardly QBs and allow you to look into your crystal ball with the poll at the end:

Nick Saban frustrated with Alabama QB competition | NCAA Football | Sporting News

"The way I see it happening is, as soon as we start gaining a little bit of confidence in a guy and we put him in the situation where you’ve got a chance to be the guy, they have to take advantage of that," Saban said

Breaking news: Nick Saban isn't the most patient man.

CECIL HURT: Alabama QB mystery, and anxiety, will go on |

Saban went on to say something that has just been hinted at before. There’s no guarantee the clearly unresolved competition is suddenly going to become as clear as crystal over the course of three weeks. Saban alluded to the early part of AJ McCarron’s career, when he would alternate McCarron and Phillip Sims on a quarter-by-quarter basis until McCarron finally won the job. There was always a good chance more than one quarterback would play against Wisconsin. That seems like an even better bet today.

No guarantees, indeed. Hope for the best.

Renowned QB guru calls Alabama's Blake Barnett one of the best he's seen

"One, he’s so well-rounded. I think he’s going to be successful there in that system with coach (Lane) Kiffin," Whitfield continued. "He would have been very successful up there with coach (Mark) Helfrich in Oregon. He could be extremely successful in coach (David) Shaw’s system at Stanford. Those are three different vehicles, now, to go and try to fly, and very few guys could kind of pick it up, take their skill set, sit down in the cockpit and fly all three different aircraft. This kid can do it."

Blake certainly didn't come without hype, and reports are that he is grasping the offense quickly. I fully expect him to redshirt, but wouldn't be terribly shocked if he got an opportunity at some point this season.

On to some other news:

Sprained knee suffered by Alabama WR Robert Foster 'not serious,' sources say |

The sprained knee Alabama wide receiver Robert Foster suffered during the Tide's scrimmage Saturday is "minor" and "not serious," according to multiple sources. Sources expressed confidence that Foster won't miss any games.

Foster would be a massive loss to a unit that is already missing a player in Cam Sims who may have been poised to break out. Here's hoping this report is accurate.

Alabama Football: Game-by-Game predictions for 2015

THE LOWDOWN: For the third consecutive season, I’m picking Alabama to lose a single game during the regular season, win the West and the SEC title — which would result in a second straight College Football Playoff berth. The Crimson Tide avenge an earlier loss to Georgia in Atlanta, then it’s onto the semifinal.

I endorse this post, and find it very likely. Not necessarily the loss to UGA per se as I think Alabama has a great shot to win that one, but going undefeated is almost impossible nowadays. I'll take one loss and a playoff berth all day and twice on Sunday.

Lance Thompson says he hasn't spoken with Nick Saban since leaving Alabama for Auburn |

"Since I told him I was leaving? None," Thompson said. "Me and Nick don't have anything to talk about right now. But I don't got any hard feelings towards coach. He does a tremendous job. Looking forward to playing against him."

Imagine that. You bolt for the same money to work for a bitter in-state rival, and the coach of the team you left doesn't keep you on the Christmas card list. Appalling.

Alabama's experimenting with no-huddle play cards, Nick Saban explains why |

Running back Kenyan Drake likes the changes so far. "It makes everything go a lot smoother," he said. "You can kind of just look at the picture card and it gives you the formation or whatever, it's pretty seamless. It helps you not look at more than one thing at a time, so you can just get the play call and the signal of the plays called in, and you can go without really stopping."

Ugh. I really hate those things, but as I said before - if it helps put points on the board then so be it.

And now, a word from James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers on participation trophies:

Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison rejects sons' participation trophies | FOX Sports

"I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise to boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best…cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better…not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues"

This shouldn't be controversial.

That's it for today. Hope everyone has a great start to the week. Roll Tide.