Alabama’s Cooper Bateman still eyes the starting job
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He was a forgotten name in Alabama’s quarterback battle entering fall camp, but redshirt sophomore Cooper Bateman earned an opportunity to play last week against Wisconsin.
Bateman, a native of Murray, Utah, was one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects upon his arrival to Alabama in 2013. His mobility and arm strength guided him to a strong finish in fall practice. He completed seven of eight pass attempts for 51 yards against the Badgers.
Bateman completed passes to O.J. Howard, ArDarius Stewart and Calvin Ridley last week. His footwork was crisp for the most part, but Bateman is still young when it comes to deciphering reads.
He had Stewart open on a pass in the fourth quarter, but decided to check down to true freshman running back Damien Harris. The result was a one-yard; however, more could have happened if Bateman had targeted Stewart. More reps should help him improve in that area.
Bateman and senior Jacob Coker went stride for stride in Tuesday’s practice.
Both guys displayed touch and accuracy on deep passes, but there were some under thrown balls as well. Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban will play both guys Saturday against Middle Tennessee State. Coker has the edge after last week, but Bateman’s footwork, arm talent and ability to run a two-minute drill offense has him still fighting.
Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.