TUSCALOOSA — AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims grabbed hold of Alabama’s offense Saturday in the first of several auditions that will culminate with one of them winning the starting quarterback job.
Few people were invited to watch Saturday’s first spring scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which was closed to the general public and the media.
Still, speculation and curiosity is inevitable for one of the storied collegiate football programs which has produced quarterback legends such as Joe Namath and Bart Starr.
The final decision of choosing a replacement for two-year starter Greg McElroy, ultimately to be made by coach Nick Saban, isn’t expected until preseason practice.
Saban immediately addressed the current quarterback situation, but gave little away and discredited the statistics because the format of the scrimmage was not a true game format.
“Stats only tell you so much, and that’s not how we make our evaluations,” Saban said. “There are a lot of things that affect the outcome, and it’s not all controlled by what they do. To really get a true picture of it, you need to evaluate it in the film, based on the decisions they made, the choices they made.”
According to statistics provided by UA’s media relations department, McCarron completed 18-of-33 passes for 189 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. Sims completed 20-of-30 passes for 225 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
McCarron hooked up with wide receiver Kenny Bell on touchdown passes of 14 and 7 yards, and also connected with Marquis Maze on a 59-yard TD pass.
Sims found running back Jalston Fowler for a 2-yard TD, and also threw a pair of 18-yard scoring passes to Maze and Trent Richardson.
Saban said both players had equal repetitions and equal opportunities to work with the first unit.
“I’m really pleased with the quarterback play,” Saban said. “Those guys played with a lot of poise. They did a good job of throwing the ball, made a couple errors, had some drops, threw a couple interceptions I’m sure they’d like to have back that were not great judgments and decisions. Overall, I thought they managed the game well. Their leadership was good, and we moved the ball effectively offensively.”
Overall, Saban said he was pleased with the offense.
Bell led all receivers with 7 catches for 89 yards and 2 TDs. Maze had 4 catches for 82 yards and 2 TDs, Darius Hanks had 5 catches for 61 yards, and DeAndrew White had 4 catches for 61 yards.
“I was pleased with the group as a whole,” Saban said. “Hopefully, those guys getting some catches and having some production today, it will help their confidence and their development.”
The running game was led by Eddie Lacy (10 carries, 92 yards and TD runs of 6 and 3 yards). Richardson had 5 carries for 40 yards, F