Watch the video above as John Parker Wilson gives his thoughts on Alabama's four QB candidates, and breaks down what he's seen from each of them during spring practice and A-Day. Will it be Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell, Blake Barnett, or Jalen Hurts who emerges as Nick Saban's starter in 2016?
This one is mostly just clickbait for Al.com. However, if you want to hear a nostalgic face talk about the Tide QB race, this is a two minute video to get your fix. Who will win the job? I don't know. We have four months to argue about this. Might as well get some out of the way today. I'm placing my early bet on Cooper Bateman.
In this span of eight years, the Crimson Tide have produced two Heisman Trophy winners, three All-Americans and seven NFL Draft picks at the running back position. Glen Coffee in 2008 was the least experienced back to assume the starting role during this time, and even he was coming off a season in which he rushed for 545 yards and four touchdowns.
Since Coffee, the average rushing output for Alabama’s new starter in the season prior to taking on the bulk of the carries has been 840 yards and 9.6 touchdowns.
In 2016, the Crimson Tide have no such comfort.
Though Scarbrough looks to be the next freak running back, it has been glossed over this spring just how scary thin the running back position is this year. If Scarbrough or Harris don't pan out, then the Tide will be relying on two true freshmen to carry the load. To me, this is a much more concerning situation than the QB battle that gets all the headlines.
September treats Alabama to games away from Tuscaloosa against USC and Ole Miss, but the October slate for Alabama would spook anyone. This all-SEC gauntlet features road trips to two schools that will enter the season ranked and will make or break Alabama's chances of three-peating as SEC champs and returning to the College Football Playoff for a third consecutive season.
At Arkansas. At Tennessee. Vs. Texas A&M. At LSU.
While it looks like a tough four game stretch, it definitely could be a lot worse. The Razorbacks lost quarterback Brandon Allen, elite tight end Hunter Henry, and running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. It remains to be seen if they can recover from so many losses on offense. Tennessee, however, looks to be a scary team, returning Josh Dobbs, Jalen Hurd, Alvin Kamara, and a nasty defense.
Who knows when it comes to A&M. They have a lot of talent, but are also a dumpster fire of a program at the moment. Plus they just had approximately 20 quarterbacks transfer out last year.
LSU returns most of their players from last year, which could be scary... Except that it hinges on Brandon Harris finally becoming at least a serviceable passer. Good luck with that.
We’ve seen it with the hire and continued flexibility with offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who is recruiting and landing dual-threat quarterbacks to lead the offense while aiming to throw a bit more than the common perception of a Crimson Tide offense. We’ve seen it with his seemingly annual campaign with top recruits to prove he is not the stoic, robotic leader 100 percent of the time by cracking jokes, participating in popular dances and party games. We’ve seen it on his beloved defense, somewhat straying away from the bulk he has long coveted for fit-for-today defenders who can play in space and rush the passer despite not being traditional defensive end or linebacker size.
The list goes on and on.
In tracking any Saban trend, or message, or reaction, history has taught us that it often comes back to recruiting. Upon winning most of these four national titles over the last seven years he has often been quoted as his focus shifts from the glow of getting to the top of the mountain to the next and seemingly ongoing task of bringing in the next crop of talent. In multiple classes, simultaneously.
That is Nick Saban.
He will adjust, he will bend, he will (begin to) change when it comes to being at the curve or even ahead of it on the recruiting trail.
The article itself is written oddly and hard to follow, but it is mostly talking about the offering of scholarships to recruits still 3-4 years out from graduating high school. However, it does bring up a good point about Saban: the man adapts. Rather than resting on his laurels after winning multiple championships, he continues to try to stay ahead of the curve. Football is a sport that is constantly changing, and what may win one season might not win the next. We have a coach that is willing to change his tactics before they go stale, and that is a winning quality that many will overlook.
"I love it," Robinson said. "Honestly, I think it's a great defense for me to be in. To come from two-gap and then be able to attack, to have the opportunity to attack, it's amazing. I know to change my stance and really just come off the ball and explode off on offensive linemen is going to be cool. ... I feel like I have a lot of potential."
The main reason for A'Shawn falling out of the first round was his lack of pass-rushing. However, the Tide scheme is for the interior linemen to play two gaps, rather than attacking just one. Now, Robinson will be allowed to attack without regard for another gap, leading to a more disruptive (if not as safe) playing style. He could quickly become one of the draft's biggest steals.
The Crimson Tide didn't wait long to strike back. After walking the lead-off batter and allowing a single to Chandler Dare, Holly Ward gave up a three-run blast to Leona Lafaele. The home run marked Lafaele's 10th in the last 13 games. Conversely, to start the season she had just 4 home runs in her first 40 games. A Peyton Grantham RBI double finished the early scoring for the Alabama as the Tide led 5-2 after one.