5 Totally Irresponsible Quarterback Predictions

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Let’s make some predictions about who the Crimson Tide’s quarterback will be.
 
As the title suggests, this run down bounces between whimsical and flippant but that doesn’t mean our quarterback predictions won’t also contain a peril or two of wisdom and insight; either by accident or design.
 
Selecting the starting quarterback is one of the most important decisions a coaching staff can make. Nearly every other position on the team is subject to a steady substitution pattern making it almost impossible to make a wrong decision, so long as this pattern adjusts to reward the more productive players.
 
However, naming the quarterback is akin to setting the North Star for the team. The fact is, the personality of the entire team can shift based on the abilities of a specific signal caller.
 
So with that in mind, let’s dial down the seriousness and see how many irresponsible ideas we can fling against the wall.
 
Sep 20, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jacob Coker (14) makes a call as Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Ryan Kelly (70) looks up against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY SportsJacob Coker – When Jake becomes rich and famous and the obligatory unauthorized biography is written, (did you see what I did there?), the first chapter I’ll read is the one in which he outlines his regret for leaving Florida State. That’s not to say he won’t begin, or even finish, the season as Alabama’s starter, it just means that the last 18 months have not unfolded as nearly anyone could have imagined.
 
My bet is that Jake is named the starter for the Wisconsin game but similar to last year, the title of starter may not be officially bestowed until later in the season. I predict the Ole Miss game as a significant secondary milestone and I’d give lessor odds for Coker standing tall through the extended evaluation period. However, if he does, watch for his strong arm to play a key role in opening up running lanes as the Tide offense finds an exciting balance of aggressive down field passing, power running, and play action.
 
Apr 18, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback David Cornwell (12) drops back to pass against the white team during the annual A-day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY SportsDavid Cornwell – Cornell finds himself in as interesting a position as any player I ever recall. For most observers the quarterback race is a three man completion with Coker, Cornwell, and Barnett. While I believe Cornwell would beat either of the other competitors in a two man race, it’s the introduction of the third candidate that Perots this whole thing up. Did I just show my age there?
 
In a Coker/Cornwell battle, a nearly even contest between two guys with similar in-system experience, the nod is likely to go to the younger guy so the program can build a future at the position at no additional marginal cost. Youth, in the person of Cornwell, is served in this case.
 
In a Cornwell/Barnett battle the nod is most likely to go towards the in-system experience. Experience, in the person of Cornwell, is served in this case.
 
However, with all three in the mix, a straight experience vs. youth play is likely to leave Cornwell stuck in the middle.
 
My bet is that David is the number two guy behind Jake to start the season but once the race is narrowed to a field of two; don’t be surprised to see him nudge ahead for increased playing time. If it so happens that Cornwell prevails in round two, watch for the Tide’s third down conversation rate to steadily climb.
 
Apr 18, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Alec Morris (11) drops back to pass during the annual A-day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY SportsAlec Morris Depending on your preference for analogy, Morris is either the watermark or Cory Reamer of Alabama quarterbacks. He’s firmly entrenched in the third spot and with his combination of talent and experience he would surely make for a quintessential Saban-esque game manager. In other words, much like Reamer, Morris would set a known and acceptable performance floor.
 
However, given his comparatively limited upside along with Lane Kiffin’s ability to manage much of the pre-snap reads for the quarterback, the value in naming Alec the starter simply isn’t there.
 
But Morris strikes me as a Saban guy and he’ll gladly play his part in building the team through his special teams and sideline contributions. Look for Alec to return as a grad assistant and one day become a solid coach in his own right.
 
Cooper Bateman – When Cooper becomes rich and famous and the obligatory unauthorized biography is written, the first chapter I’ll read is the one in which he outlines his regret for Jacob Coker leaving Florida State. (Did you see what I did there?)
 
Following spring practice is 2014 it looked like Cooper had taken the biggest strides and was poised to compete for the starting job. However, during spring drills in 2015 he was taking reps at wide receiver. The message of wanting more athleticism at the quarterback position did not jibe with the declaration that Bateman was so talented that the Tide coaches needed to find another outlet for his abilities.
 
Strictly from the outside looking in, this presented as a thinly veiled invitation to transfer and I half expected it following A-Day. Yet Bateman is still on the roster and competing well for a role in the upper half of the lineup.
 
My prediction here is disappointing even for me. At another time Cooper would have made a fine starting quarterback, one capable of making Alabama fans quite proud. However, in the current landscape, er logjam, Bateman is more likely to be an afterthought during the 2015 campaign and the odds of his transfer only increase as Jalen Hurts rolls into town. Watch for Bateman to finish his college career at one of the Utah schools.
 
Apr 18, 2015; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Blake Barnett (6) drops back to pass during the annual A-day game at Bryant Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY SportsBlake Barnett – It doesn’t take much in the way of deductive reasoning to predict Barnett as the Tide’s future at the quarterback position. Lavish praise from esteemed quarterback whisperer George Whitfield along with Blake’s AJ McCarron before-picture physique at once communicate his upside and lack of readiness.
 
But don’t be surprised to see Blake get some snaps this season. The Tide will again profess a wide open quarterback competition as fall camp opens in 2016 and it’ll be nice for Barnett to have some live game action under his belt to give the claim some legitimacy. For those rooting for Blake over the long term, it would also be good to see Coker seize, and keep, the reigns in 2015.
 
Who do you think will win the quarterback job in 2015? Join us in the comments below to share your predictions.
 

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