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A-Day Game brings big competition to the QB race

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The University of Alabama announced Wednesday that the 2014 A-Day Spring Football Game will be held on Saturday, April 19 at 2 p.m. (CDT).

Alabama currently leads the nation in spring game attendance over the last seven years with a total of 594,851 fans and an average of 84,978 fans per game during that period. The largest A-Day crowd in school history came in 2011 (92,310) only beating out the previous high which was Saban’s first year at the Capstone in 2007 and prior to the stadium expansion with 92,138 in attendance. That year the gates had to be closed turning people away due to the stadium being at capacity.

This A-Day game will likely bring a larger crowd than the last couple of seasons and could surpass that of 2011 given the high profile hire of new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. It will be the Crimson Tide fan’s first glimpse at the “new” offense which will be led by a new quarterback for the first time in three seasons.

The 2014 A-day will be much like that of the 2011 A-Day with regards to the QB position.  In 2011 the main competition was between McCarron and Sims with McCarron eventually winning the top spot after the start of the season.  But at the time of the A-Day game there were still several questions as to who would win out.  Just like 2011, this year’s offense will be under new leadership in the huddle.

And then there were four.  At the end of the season Alabama returned five players from the 2013 roster that would be competing for the quarterback position.  Blake Sims will be a senior and has been McCarron’s backup for three years, but Nick Saban may be looking for a younger more traditional drop back passer to lead the offense and more importantly for more than just one year.  Many thought that may be freshman third-string walk-on Luke Del Rio. But after an announcement via Del Rio’s twitter post on Wednesday, he will be transferring to another school.

I had an incredible year at Bama, it’s sad to say that it will be my last, I’m excited for the next chapter of my life and what it will bring”.

Removing Sims from the equation, although he will without a doubt be in the mix, leaves the competition down to red-shirt sophomore Alec Morris, red-shirt freshmen Cooper Bateman and Parker McLeod to take the reigns. Now you throw in the Class of 2014 prospect and 4-star recruit David Cornwell who is currently enrolled and plans to participate in spring training although he is recovering from a knee injury ending his final year of high school earlier than he intended.

But wait, that’s not all, as the excited TV ad spokesperson always seem to scream. There is yet another scenario that may play out, and play out well for Nick Saban which may give Alabama fans the reason to scream too. There is speculation surrounding Florida State back-up QB Jacob Coker and his transfer to Alabama. Many believe that Coker will transfer to Alabama once he graduates from FSU in April, or over the summer, leaving him two more years of eligibility.  Since he would have graduated from Florida State there would be no “sit-out” period leaving him the opportunity to immediately fill the shoes of McCarron…again.

The situation is eerily similar as Coker and McCarron both played high school football at St. Paul’s. McCarron graduated from St. Paul and went on to play for Alabama as Coker remained for two more years to carry on as the starting QB.  Coker grew up as an Alabama fan, but committed to FSU prior to his senior year in high school.

Coker has stated that these are only rumors and that he is not sure where they are coming from. ”I haven’t told anybody that,” Coker said. “I think it’s just assumptions.”

Transfers and rumors aside, this years quarterback battle will be a dramatic one for sure.  But that’s not the only position that will be scrutinized.  Other key positions to be back-filled are that of linebacker CJ Mosley, O-Line left tackle Kouandjio and right guard Steen, and Safety Clinton-Dix and D-line Pagan although D.J. Pettway returns to the D-line this year to contribute there.

This spring will be a good one to watch with a little drama on the offense and back to basics on the defense.

The annual Crimson-White game will be the 15th and final practice of spring training and will take place at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Admission will once again be free to the public.

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