Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

SEC Looking for Next Star Quarterback

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

SEC Looking for Next Star Quarterback

Article excerpt

Where has all the star power gone?

Where are the AJ McCarron's, Aaron Murray's or Johnny Manziel's and Cam Newton's? For a conference that produced two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks since 2010, it doesn't have a brandname quarterback for the second year in a row.

That's to take nothing away from what Blake Sims accomplished for the University of Alabama last season when he established program records. It's just that the SEC is known for its star appeal, and again this season there isn't an established star quarterback in the league.

Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs has the faithful on Rocky Top excited, and Dak Prescott returns off a stellar season for Mississippi State, albeit without three starting offensive lineman from a season ago, and Jeremy Johnson has the pundits bullish on Auburn.

But there are question marks surrounding nearly all the league's starters, at least in terms of consistent quarterback play. Included in that uncertainty is Alabama's situation, one that sees a quarterback competition headed into the fall.

It's not a problem unique to UA, with Florida, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, facing similar questions. In fact, only six of the leagues 14 leading passers return from a season ago (Dak Prescott, Mississippi State; Patrick Towles, Kentucky; Maty Mauk, Missouri; Brandon Allen, Arkansas; Anthony Jennings, LSU; Kyle Allen, Texas A&M).

"We do not have an experienced player at that position," UA head coach Nick Saban during last week's SEC Media Days.

Senior Jake Coker is the only quarterback on the roster that has attempted in a pass in a game for UA. That leaves redshirt freshman David Cornwell, junior Alec Morris, sophomore Cooper Bateman and true freshman Blake Barnett with zero career pass attempts in games.

"We need somebody to take the bull by the horns this year and be that kind of player for us at that position," Saban said. "I think we have several guys that are capable of it.

"I don't think anybody's come to the forefront as of yet, and I don't think it's something that we can force to happen. I think we've got to let it happen. And I cannot give you a timetable of when that's going to happen. …

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