- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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A week ago, the SEC had 10 quarterback battles yet to be decided. As of Wednesday, the league has four.
Here's a quick update at how all the SEC quarterback competitions look heading into the season's opening weekend:
Jake Coker vs. Cooper Bateman vs. Alec Morris: At this point, just take your pick. Nick Saban has said he's happy with all three and, hey, maybe all three will play against Wisconsin in Jerry World on Saturday. Coker was supposed to be the guy (again), but Morris has emerged as someone to keep an eye on. Bateman is the most athletic of the three, and we all know what Lane Kiffin did with athleticism last season. Alabama has time, but hopefully this gets whittled down to two by next week.
Will Grier vs. Treon Harris: It sounds like these two continue to fluctuate during practices. Consistency has been an issue for both during camp, but it sounds like Grier, who redshirted last season, has been better at making the right throws. Still, he doesn't have the experience of Harris (six starts) and with an unproven offensive line, maybe Harris' mobility will be more appealing. At this point, who knows? Both will play Saturday against New Mexico State.
Chad Kelly vs. Ryan Buchanan vs. DeVante Kincade: So is Kelly the guy, or not? Hugh Freeze said he would start Saturday and get the first few snaps, but he might not be the starter going forward. Even though Buchanan and Kincade have actual SEC experience, Kelly has more tools and is the more complete player. He has a cannon for an arm and is mobile. But hey, a little game action might be the last step in the process to anointing Kelly as the full-time starter.
Wade Freebeck vs. Johnny McCrary: At least it's down to two in Nashville. Attrition caused that, but Derek Mason won't have to sift through a handful of quarterbacks this year, and that's great news. The team knows who the starter is, but Mason and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig won't make anything known until Thursday's opener against Western Kentucky. Mason was really impressed with Freebeck's improvements this spring and was still high on him before fall camp.
Brice Ramsey vs. Greyson Lambert vs. Faton Bauta: Winner: Lambert: In a little bit of a shocker, the Virginia transfer beat out Ramsey, who many thought would win this coming out of spring. But it was the more experienced Lambert who coach Mark Richt announced as the starter on Monday. Lambert, who isn't the most athletic guy, lost the job on a bad Virginia team, but did start nine games last season, knows the game, and is the steadiest option at this point.
Patrick Towles vs. Drew Barker: Winner: Towles: Once it was announced that there was going to be a competition, many thought Barker, a former top recruit, would win this. However, Towles took that to heart and created a steady lead that earned him the job early in camp. Towles is a big body who can run and he has a nice arm, but he has to be better than his nine touchdowns with seven interceptions in conference play from last season.
Brandon Harris vs. Anthony Jennings: Winner: Harris: Jennings started 12 games last season, but Harris just has more upside. It also benefited Harris to get more reps during Jennings' recent suspension. Harris was awful in his lone start at Auburn last season, when he went 3 of 14 for 58 yards, but that's the past. He needs some confidence and he will get plenty of it Saturday against McNeese State.
Connor Mitch vs. Perry Orth vs. Michael Scarnecchia vs. Lorenzo Nunez: Winner: Mitch: Few were shocked by this one. Mitch has been groomed as the quarterback of the future, but keep an eye on the very mobile Nunez, who will get time this season. And, c'mon, we all know the Head Ball Coach isn't afraid to play multiple quarterbacks whenever he sees fit.
Kyle Allen vs. Kyler Murray: Winner: Allen: This might not have been much of a battle at all, but Allen has the starting spot and has looked good since his late-season emergence in 2014. Allen isn't the athlete Murray is, but he's a great pure passer and can move if needed. Honestly, Allen is the guy, but Murray will likely see some snaps because they just want to get his athleticism on the field.
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