The Alabama football team's spring practice is in full swing, with coach Nick Saban generally pleased with what he's seen. One of the top spring competitions is at quarterback, where Phillip Sims and A.J. McCarron will battle it out to replace Greg McElroy, who went 24-3 as a starter.
Many, including myself, expected McCarron, who was backup to McElroy, to beat out Sims, a redshirt freshman, without much problem. But it appears A.J. has more on his hands than expected, as Sims has impressed coaches with his accuracy, rocket arm and 6'2" height.
Alabama has held its first spring scrimmage last Saturday, and both quarterbacks played well. Stats can be deceiving, but it looks to me as if they had a draw. According to www.rolltide.com, Sims went 20 for 30 for 225 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, and McCarron completed 18 of 33 passes for 189 yards, three TDs and one interception.
As you can see, Sims was slightly more efficient with a few less attempts and threw for about 30 more yards than A.J., but also threw three interceptions as compared to A.J.'s two. As I said earlier, scrimmage statistics can be meaningless, but one fact does stand out to me: both men received almost the same amount of snaps. It is very significant that Saban gave Sims as much playing time as A.J., and is a sign to me that the competition is tougher than first thought.
What did coach Saban have to say about how his quarterbacks played in the scrimmage? Well, according to alabama.rivals.com, he had high praise for both of them. "I think this (spring practice) is a much truer barometer for us to go on," Saban said. "Just because someone played some last year, I don't think anyone should assume that that gives them an advantage."
It sounds like that Saban isn't playing favorites right now, and this competition could go all the way until fall practice.