When Alabama coach Nick Saban took the podium Thursday for the final press conference before game week preparations begin, the question of who will be the starter at quarterback for Alabama was still unsettled.
Surprised? Saban did make it clear to the media that it’s not a matter of Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett, or Jalen Hurts playing poorly as much as it is that none of the three have stood out head and shoulders above the rest.
“No decision has been made about who will start at quarterback. I’m not disappointed in the progress they’ve made. But no one has forged ahead either.” Saban told the media. Saban didn’t even wait for the question about the quarterback position to be asked before launching into the discussion, knowing it would be on the top of everyone’s minds.
The natural follow up question here is would the Tide start two quarterbacks week one? Saban had much to say on that Thursday as well,
Bama radio analyst Phil Savage does think alabama will start the season with two quarterbacks, using the games against USC and Western Kentucky to decide who gives Alabama the best chance to win.
“Based on what I saw (Wednesday), I get the sense that we’ll see Cooper Bateman and Jalen Hurts in the first couple of games with Nick Saban and the staff trying to figure out who really gives them the best opportunity long-term by the third game of the year,” Savage told WNSP.
“The first thing is that he’s got really good size. He’s got a very sturdy build,” Savage told WNSP of the Jalen Hurts. “They say that he’s in that 225-230-pound range. He’s got some ruggedness to him in the pocket or if he were utilized as a runner. He’s got some snap in his arm. He’s got explosiveness in his legs. Someone said to me (Wednesday), ‘This is a dual-threat quarterback that can really throw.’
“So I think they’ve been encouraged by what they’ve seen out of Jalen thus far going back to the spring and now through the summer. I’m just not sure that they’re ready to just give over the entire offense to him. I’m not sure that they really believe that he’s ready to do that just yet. Maybe that will come over the course of time. Maybe it’s a game. Maybe it’s two games. Maybe it’s mid-year. Maybe it’s not until next season.
“But I just get the sense that — based upon the spring and then just seeing (Wednesday) — I think Cooper Bateman’s probably gonna get the chance to go out there first, and then we’ll go from there. But I do forecast seeing Bateman and Hurts in this first game against USC.”
It looks like it’s going to be Déjà vu all over again for Tide fans, hopefully though Saban and company can get things figured out before week three and Ole Miss.