Tide's key position battles: Who won out?

August 28, 2016


A quick look at how some of the hottest competitions in Alabama's fall camp turned out:



The prediction here -- and it's only a prediction, based on discussions with practice observers privy to watching scrimmages in full -- is that Nick Saban will play two quarterbacks against Southern Cal to open the season: Cooper Bateman, and either freshman Blake Barnett or Jalen Hurts. Whether that arrangement continues into Week 2 depends on how the chips fall in Dallas, but Barnett had a strong showing in the preseason and Hurts, despite an understandable propensity for mistakes, showed playmaking skills that at times outshined the entire quarterback field.



As long as Bo Scarbrough remains healthy, he's your lead horse. Don't assume that Damien Harris will be the automatic backup just because he got some experience as a freshman last year, however. Freshmen B.J. Emmons and Joshua Jacobs are arguably better now, and have more long-term potential than Harris. Ball security and blitz pickups will be key factors in this competition, which, like quarterback, could also rage on in September.



Anthony Averett essentially won a war of attrition here as the transfers of Maurice Smith and Kendall Sheffield helped clear the path. Averett's long speed is legit, however, and his emergence was hard-earned despite the transfer exits. Look for opposing quarterbacks to test Averett early and often this season to see if he represents a soft spot in the UA secondary.



Bradley Bozeman handled this position with the first unit throughout camp. Was Alphonse Taylor's DUI a factor in that? Perhaps, but don't assume Bozeman didn't also simply outperform Taylor in August. Crimson Cover sources suggest he most certainly did. Taylor didn't exactly have a vice grip on the job last year, and Bozeman gives the Crimson Tide a bit more athleticism at the position. Taylor's experience could crucial this fall in the event of an injury, but there's no reason to think Bozeman won't play effectively at this spot.



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