The Alabama Crimson Tide will roll into State College, Pa. this weekend to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State. Each team will enter the game with their own quarterback “controversy.”
The Lions have sophomore Rob Bolden and junior Matt McGloin battling for the top job, while the Tide has freshman Phillip Sims and sophomore AJ Mcarron battling. Odds are that both teams will play two quarterbacks on Saturday.
Coach Nick Saban has gone to great lengths this week to ensure that the QB race at Alabama is not over, despite McCarron appearing to outplay Sims against Kent State:
“We’re gonna continue to develop both of the quarterbacks that we have,” Saban said. “… Later in the week, as we see how the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game or if there’s some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us. We’ll look at the option of doing that.”
I believe the QB battle will be on-going through most of the season, as Saban’s comment above indicates.
But I’m not so sure that we’ll see the same QB rotation that we saw against Kent State. It may be that the battle rages during practice, and that two quarterbacks do play in most games, but the allocation of playing time is decided based upon performance at practice.
I think the statement above gives Saban some wiggle room to do that:
Later in the week, as we see how the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game or if there’s some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us.
It was pretty plain to see in the Kent State game that the Tide’s offensive momentum stalled once Sims entered the game. I don’t think Saban will do that against Penn State. I think it’s more likely that the starting quarterback will play as long as he has a hot hand, with a minimum of about three series, and then the other would play.
Sims and McCarron are young players and could possibly battle for the top job for three seasons. I think coach Saban understands that he’s dealing with a tricky situation and I think he’s handling it in a way that will spur competition while keeping the second-teamer involved and encouraged.