2012 Alabama Crimson Tide Preseason Preview: Quarterback Edition
We begin the preseason position breakdowns for the Crimson Tide this week with what is arguably the most secure spot on the field for Alabama in 2012. The quarterbacks.
Last year fans watched as AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims battled throughout the spring and fall practices, and during the Penn State game for the starting role.
McCarron amassed 2,634 passing yards with 16 passing touchdowns and only five interceptions during the 2011 season, firmly cementing himself as the starting quarterback.
The situation is completely opposite this year. After completing 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards with zero interceptions and earning the offensive MVP award in the BCS championship game, everyone knows who will be commanding the offense when Alabama takes on Michigan in Dallas on September 1.
The question this time is, can he do it again?
With a new offensive coordinator hand-picked by Saban himself, one of the deepest receiving corps Alabama has had in recent memory, and a season’s worth of SEC quarterbacking experience, it looks like all the tools are there for a truly unforgettable year.
That’s not even to mention being protected by one of the best offensive lines in the country. McCarron has hinted that we may see more of an opened-up downfield passing attack this year, and with returning starters D.J. Fluker, Barrett Jones, and Chance Warmack protecting him, AJ should have all the time he needs to let the play develop before letting one rip.
Even with the losses of receivers like Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks, and Brad Smelly, McCarron still has a deep group of speedy wide-outs to rely on in the passing game. He will look to familiar faces like DeAndrew White, Kenny Bell, Christion Jones, Kevin Norwood and tight end Michael Williams in the passing game, as well as to newcomers Chris Black and Amari Cooper.
There are no doubts when it comes to AJ and his ability to lead the offense, but with the departure of Phillip Sims, Alabama loses a more than capable backup QB and its lack of depth at the position is exposed.
The number two quarterback at this point looks to be the Tampa, Florida native, Phillip Ely. As a recruit in the 2011 class, Ely has not had a chance to experience any game action so far. He more than likely won’t see the field much in Alabama’s opener against Michigan, so the first we may see of him could be mop-up duty against Western Kentucky the following week.
Ely has a chance to develop into a capable backup this year, but Alabama needs its star QB to stay healthy if it hopes to raise the crystal back to back seasons.
Alabama looks to add depth at the quarterback position over the next couple of seasons with the addition of QB Alec Morris, from Allen, Texas, of the 2012 recruiting class. The Tide also recently picked up a commitment from Salt Lake City’s Cooper Bateman. Bateman is a four-star prospect according to Rivals.com, and is an Elite 11 quarterback in the 2013 class and could compete for the starting job next year if AJ decides to go pro.
The Crimson Tide has an experienced veteran at quarterback, and all the pieces to the puzzle offensively to compete in the SEC. If McCarron stays healthy you can be sure he will have ‘Bama in the BCS title hunt again in 2012.
More from Around Gamedayr » 2012 SEC Football Position Primer: Get To Know Your Quarterbacks