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Saturday, April 19, 2014
Alabama QBs struggle in spring game

By Alex Scarborough


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alec Morris may have had the biggest impact of any Alabama quarterback during the Crimson Tide's spring game Saturday. The problem, however, is that he stood out most as a punter, booming 15 kicks for an average of 38.4 yards.

In a game that was built up as a quarterback showcase, the defense ultimately stole the show while the passing game went missing in action.

AJ McCarron was on hand for A-Day in Tuscaloosa, but only to be inducted into the Walk of Fame. His potential replacements under center, meanwhile, looked far away from fulfilling his legacy as a starter.

Blake Sims, McCarron's backup a year ago and the early leader in the quarterback race this spring, threw for an underwhelming 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 13-of-30 passing. A 55-yard touchdown pass to Chris Black late in the fourth quarter helped salvage some of his day as the "Crimson" team starter, but it was a far cry from his reported 515 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in two earlier scrimmages this spring, both of which were closed to the media.

"Blake had a really good spring and did a really good job in the scrimmages," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I thought ... the game speeded up today and he tried to speed up with it, rather than just staying in his rhythm."

Cooper Bateman, a former four-star recruit who redshirted last season, had the two best moments of the day as the "White" team starter, delivering a 34-yard pass over Robert Foster's right shoulder in the first half and then a 32-yard touchdown pass to ArDarius Stewart in the fourth quarter. But he was ultimately inconsistent, finishing with 156 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-24 passing. He was also sacked three times.

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