Alabama’s quarterback battle is one of the biggest in college football this fall, and the ongoing competition to replace Blake Sims took an interesting turn on Monday. Senior Jake Coker – considered by some to be the favorite – missed practice due to a minor foot injury and will be out “several days” according to AL.com.
With Coker out indefinitely, the focus in Tuscaloosa shifts to redshirt freshman David Cornwell and true freshman Blake Barnett. Alec Morris and Cooper Bateman are also competing for snaps, but Cornwell was considered Coker’s biggest challenger, and Barnett was a five-star recruit in the 2015 247Sports Composite.
After suffering a knee injury as a high school senior in 2013, Cornwell benefitted from a redshirt season in 2014. The strong-armed Oklahoma native also has nearly the same amount of experience as Coker within coordinator Lane Kiffin’s offense.
In the spring game, Cornwell completed 12 of 24 passes for 110 yards and one touchdown, while Coker led all quarterbacks with 183 yards on 14 completions.
Barnett might have the most all-around ability of any Alabama quarterback on the roster, but how quickly can he adapt to the offense? Would the Crimson Tide start a true freshman at quarterback?
Considering Cornwell was already pushing Coker for the No. 1 job, Monday’s news of a foot injury for Coker could alter this race. With Week 1 preparations right around the corner, the opportunity to stake a claim for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart is getting smaller.
While Alabama’s quarterback battle will draw plenty of attention and is surrounded with significant uncertainty, it’s important to remember just how this team is built. The Crimson Tide won’t need a 300-yard passer every week. With one of the nation’s top defenses and rushing attacks, the quarterback simply needs to be efficient and eliminate the big mistakes.
With another scrimmage coming on Saturday, Alabama could have clarity in its quarterback battle. However, after Coker’s injury, the focus under center has shifted to the freshmen: Barnett and Cornwell.
Will Cornwell (a pocket passer) or Barnett (more of a dual-threat option) stake a claim for the starting job this week or in the final scrimmage?
The door is open for both players to make a move while Coker is sidelined.