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Quarterback competition narrows

CW / Hanna Curlette

Tyler Waldrep

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Fall camp has finally ended at Alabama, but several important decisions have yet to be made.

Coach Nick Saban said the team spent some time this week preparing for three of the Crimson Tide’s early opponents. He said preparation for Wisconsin will begin tomorrow.

“Starting tomorrow we have to pretty much decide who we’re going to coach, [and] who were going to invest our time in,” Saban said.

One decision awaiting Saban, is which quarterback will be under center. Saban said he might end up playing more than one quarterback in the first game.

Saban said Alabama is preparing the quarterbacks like any team would for any game. He said they are preparing two guys to play, and a third quarterback is being prepared on a limited basis.

“Well the three guys that we worked this week are Jake [Coker], Cooper [Bateman] and Alec [Morris]. Those are the three guys that got the bulk of the work,” Saban said. “I have been pleased with how all three of the guys have played this week.”

This would suggest that concrete progress is finally taking place in the quarterback battle, but Saban said the quarterbacks aren’t just being evaluated based on how they are currently playing. The best option right now might not be the best option later on in the season.

“How those guys develop and who we think can improve and develop the most during the season is also going to have something to do with this decision that we make,” Saban said.

If potential is a factor then that could help Bateman’s case. When asked about Batemam, Saban said he has made the improvements Saban told him he needed to make when they talked in the spring.

“His completion percentage has been very, very good, you know, relative to the other guys,” Saban said. “He is very athletic and he can run and we like a quarterback like that.”

Whichever quarterback (or quarterbacks) sees action in a week from Saturday will not be asked to win the opener by himself. Saban said the rest of the offense has really improved this week. The offensive line is more physical, and the wide receivers also took a step forward.

Saban said he thinks better play out of the receivers will help the quarterbacks out going forward. The offense is not the only unit with ongoing position battles. Saban said he has not figured out which cornerback will start opposite of Cyrus Jones yet.

“Marlon [Humphrey] has played out there and did a pretty good job, Mo [Maurice Smith] has played and done a pretty good job, Tony Brown has played out there and done a pretty good job [Anthony] Averett,” Saban said. “Its who gives up the fewest plays.”

The secondary will likely be asked to give up even fewer plays if Alabama’s offense struggles to score points behind a team of quarterbacks. Saban said he will not pick a winner until someone wins the job.

“We’ve been through this several times before,” Saban said. “I have confidence in our guys that they will play well in the game.”

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Quarterback competition narrows