Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As mentioned in yesterday's wrap of spring practice in the SEC West, Alabama quarterbacks A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims entered spring practice in a virtual dead heat for the starting job and left it somehow even more inseparable, drawing equally positive reviews throughout spring and throwing for nearly identical statistics in the Tide's (very well-attended) spring game.
If their head coach was someone a little more adventurous offensively than Nick Saban, you might expect them to split time this fall. But surely, if any coach was set on naming one guy the starter and getting on with things, it'd be the notoriously risk-averse, uncertainty-hating Saban, right?
Not necessarily. As our Bryan Fischer reported from the SEC coaches' teleconference today:
Color us surprised. Maybe sharing a conference call with Steve Spurrier rubbed off on him somehow?
Dumb jokes aside, don't wager the house on seeing McCarron and Sims take equal snaps in the Tide's opener against Kent State just yet. There's still four-plus months and the entirety of fall camp for one or the other to "separate," and if a random fan plucked out of Section 227 could likely lead the Tide to victory over the Golden Flashes, having the quarterback controversy hang over the team's head as they travel to Penn State in Week 2 might not be the best idea.
With that said, the month of spring practice did so little to divide McCarron and Sims, it's not hard to see the ensuing summer and fall doing little more. And the Tide will likely be as immune to a quarterback controversy as a team can be; between the powerful running game, lockdown defense, and Saban's hyper-focused leadership, swapping signal-callers might not be the distraction (or on-field disruption) it would be elsewhere.
So maybe we'll see a quarterback platoon at Alabama after all. It's not the prototype for national title contenders, certainly. But when Saban says he won't have a problem with it, there's no reason to think he does.