Defensive line positions seem secure, but no such luck for quarterbacks with scrimmage looming

Tyler Waldrep

With the holiday weekend and the first few spring practices behind it the Alabama football team can begin focusing on the first scrimmage of spring. A number of older players are currently competing for open starting positions and Saturday will provide them with an opportunity to establish some separation from the competition.

One player who will be seeking to establish himself as an early front-runner for a starting job will be quarterback Cooper Bateman. The guy who pushed former starter Jake Coker for the job last season, will have his work cut out for him if he’s going to stay ahead of the competition, but coach Nick Saban said he’s gotten the most reps with the first team at this point.

“I think there’s things that he needs to work on and we need to work on with him so that he can go out there and play with the kind of confidence and be the kind of leader and be the kind of decision maker that we need at that position to play winning football,” Saban said.

Bateman wasn’t the only quarterback Saban discussed on Monday. Saban said David Cornwell probably had as much talent in his arm as any of the guys on the team.

Cornwell is the only one of Bateman’s competitors that has been around longer than a year so if anyone else has a feel for the offense at this point it should be him.

“The guy that wins the quarterback job is going to be the guy that wins the team over with his ability to play on a consistent basis, make the kind of choices and decisions, show the kind of leadership to affect other people,” Saban said.

These statements shouldn’t surprise anyone. Saban said the same thing last year when Bateman and Coker battle continued into the regular season.

There seems to be a little more clarity along the defensive line, a position group the quarterbacks could become very familiar with very quickly. With Jonathan Allen still recovering from shoulder surgery Dalvin Tomlinson and Da’Shawn Hand have taken all the first team reps.

“We’re not really rotating anybody else in there with those two guys,” Saban said. “[Hand’s] made a tremendous amount of progress. He’s gotten bigger and stronger. He can still run. He’s still a good pass rusher. We’re trying to develop him as an inside rusher as well for third downs.”