2015 Alabama Crimson Tide Position by Position Breakdown

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Apr 18, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker (14) drops back to pass against the crimson team during the annual A-day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

As we are heading into the 2015 football season, the Alabama Crimson Tide come into the ninth season under head coach Nick Saban. The Tide is for the second straight year coming off of a disappointing loss in the Sugar Bowl. Once again the Tide is also replacing a starting quarterback and a number of number one draft picks. Still Alabama enters with one of the deepest rosters in the entire country and yet another #1 recruiting class. It’s that time again to look at each and every position on the Tide roster.

– Key Departures: Blake Sims (graduated)
– Key Returners: Jacob Coker (senior), David Cornwell (redshirt freshman)
– Key Newcomers: Blake Barnett (true freshman)

Last season everyone and their momma expected Florida State transfer Jacob Coker to take over the reigns from his former high school teammate AJ McCarron, but 5th year senior Blake Sims fought off the strong armed gun slinger and ended up breaking nearly every single season passing record in the school’s history and leading Alabama to the first ever College Football Playoffs. Coker returns for his second year with the Crimson Tide and with what seems to be a better grasp on Lane Kiffin’s offense and an aray of talent to throw to. Coker has one of the strongest arms in the entire country and can be extremely accurate as well, but at times his inconsistency rears its ugly head and will be the biggest obstacle for him to overcome before he is officially the number one man under center. He has been working with the revered private QB coach David Morris in the off season. His biggest advantage is his deep ball but the game management side of things is still his primary objective of improvement.

The other quarterbacks on the roster include junior Alec Morris, sophomore Cooper Bateman, redshirt freshman David Cornwell, and true freshman Blake Barnett. Morris is the only other player on the roster to get any snaps under center other than Coker but Bateman actually looked the best of all the QBs in A-Day, in terms of game management, this year. Cornwell is the prototypical pro style QB, he’s big (6’5″, 240 lbs.) with a big arm and head coach Nick Saban singled him out multiple times during spring practices for his vast improvement since last year. Some “insiders” have even claimed that Alabama has been leaning towards naming Cornwell the starter for awhile now. He’s very young and it would be trial by fire for the youngster if he were named the starter but the benefit of that would be that he has four full years of eligibility to play.

Cooper Bateman and Alec Morris don’t have the pure talent that either Coker or Bateman but both have been complimented for their grasp of the Alabama offense and their ability to manage a game, sounds a lot like Greg McElroy doesn’t it, so I definitely wouldn’t count either guy out. Blake Barnett is the wildcard in all of this as a true freshman and early enrollee in the spring. Barnett is completely different than every other QB on the Alabama roster, much more in the skill set type that Blake Sims brought to the game. He has a bigger arm than Sims and is much more of a pure passer than Sims but he is elusive and a dangerous scrambler like the former Alabama QB was as well. Sims ability to escape the rush was key for the Alabama offense last year with an offensive line that struggled at times so that will be something that appeals to the Alabama coaching staff.

I think the battle will come down to Coker and Cornwell in the end and it seems like everyone is split 50/50 on this with half of Alabama fans thinking Coker will lose out again and the other half thinking it is his to win. Last year I told everyone not to count Sims out and this year I’m saying the same thing about Coker. I think that Coker will end up getting the nod for the first game but if he struggles in the early part of the season Cornwell will be called on.

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