Christopher Smith

Alabama Begins Spring Ball Looking For QB

Created on Mar. 16, 2014 6:38 PM EST

Alabama started spring practice Saturday looking to replace quarterback AJ McCarron, who helped the Crimson Tide win two BCS national championships as the starter.

While the court trial equivalent would be circumstantial evidence as opposed to hard proof, most everyone assumes Florida State transfer Jacob Coker will assume the starting role once he graduates in May. He'll join the Tide this summer.

Meanwhile, a collection of other players began their quest to catch the attention of coach Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Last year's backup Blake Sims has attempted to morph from a dual-threat high school quarterback to a fit for Alabama's pro-style offense. A big part of the Crimson Tide's spring, it seems, will be evaluating whether Sims has become a more consistent pocket passer.

The four other quarterbacks taking reps this spring have never thrown a pass in college, including touted freshman David Cornwell, who took the field Saturday with a knee brace, according to multiple reports, after undergoing knee surgery during his senior year of high school.

"We're looking for the guy — success is defined by consistency in performance, alright," Saban said, according to "So who can be the most consistent guy doing his job well at that position? Alright, now that's a critical position because that guy distributes the ball to someone on every down, whether he hands it to them, throws it to them. The choices and decisions that they have to make goes a long way in how effective and efficient your offense runs."

Whomever starts at quarterback when Alabama plays West Virginia on Aug. 30 will be surrounded by talent like receiver Amari Cooper and running backs T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry.

The latter demonstrated his talent with a breakout performance against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The former five-star recruit struggled to see the field behind a pair of talented backs last season, but many believe Henry could take carries away from Drake, if not Yeldon, if he continues to impress this spring.

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