At this point, does it really matter who Alabama starts at quarterback this season, since most of the time they’ll be handing off to stud power-rusher Derrick Henry?
The identity of the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide’s quarterback is still unknown heading into Saturday night’s matchup against the No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, but its clear Henry will be the focal point of the Tide’s offense.
Beginning his third season in Tuscaloosa, Henry takes over starting duties with T.J. Yeldon now in the NFL and he proved last year he’s worthy of more snaps. The junior ripped off 990 yards and 11 touchdowns off only 172 carries and put up 5.8 yards per attempt during Alabama’s 12-2 run last year.
With no quarterback firmly in place and only one upperclassman projected to start at wide receiver, Henry’s primed for a big season.
Tide head coach Nick Saban has remained coy throughout the summer and training camp about who will serve as the defending SEC champion’s signal caller, however he did say earlier this week that Jake Coker, Cooper Bateman, Alec Morris have each alternated days for reps with the first-team offense.
Several reports have put Coker, Bateman, or Morris in line for the job, but Saban’s remained mum and hasn’t ruled out more than one quarterback playing.
Whomever starts will have to work with speedy and talented pass-catchers, but only senior transfer Richard Mullaney, previously with Oregon State, and junior Chris Black have significant experience. Sophomores Robert Foster and ArDarius Stewart, and true freshmen Calvin Ridley and Daylon Charlot round out the receiving corps.
The Badgers face a similar situation with running back Corey Clement rising to the top with Melvin Gordon now gone, but he’s known for weeks that quarterback Joel Stave would be in the huddle.
Wisconsin also has some proven receivers lining up to protect Clement from what should be a devastating Alabama frontline. There’s last year’s leading pass-catcher and redshirt senior Alex Erickson, along with redshirt senior receiver Tanner McEvoy making a switch from safety, junior Robert Wheelright, and redshirt junior Reggie Love.
Love and Wheelright have a lot to prove after combining for only three receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown last season, but then again so does Stave. He lost his starting job to McEvoy and then regained it last season and Stave could make a big impression on the nation by outlasting the Tide on a neutral field.
Kickoff Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ABC
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