TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- At some point, Alabama coach Nick Saban knows he needs to narrow down the quarterback competition from five players to three or two before eventually picking one starter.
But that moment likely won't come until at least fall camp for the Crimson Tide, barring something unforeseen.
Like the first 11 practices, Alabama's second scrimmage and 12th practice of spring workouts didn't provide much clarity as far as the race to replace Blake Sims is concerned.
At least publicly, senior Jake Coker, redshirt junior Alec Morris, redshirt sophomore Cooper Bateman, redshirt freshman David Cornwell and January enrollee Blake Barnett all appear to be on equal ground with only three practices left this spring.
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"It's not for us to give away," Saban said after Saturday's scrimmage. "It's for somebody to earn."
Each day during practice, Saban said the team gives three guys "the bulk of the work, and then the next day, we rotate and give three guys the bulk of the work" so that there is some continuity between the quarterbacks and the rest of the offense.
But during the two scrimmages, the team has given each player an opportunity to play an equal number of snaps so the coaches can properly evaluate them.
"We'll probably continue to do that even in A-Day," Saban said. "And I think most importantly over the summer, and in fall camp, we're going to need to establish, 'OK, here's the guy.'"
Saban typically avoids speaking about the quarterbacks individually unless he's asked to do so. On Saturday, he was asked about Cornwell, who appears to be making a strong push for the job.
Cornwell, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 221 pounds, battled some injuries during his first season at Alabama and ultimately redshirted. Saban said Cornwell has done "as good a job" as anyone this spring.
"He's very bright, has a great understanding of the offense, does a great job from a leadership standpoint of helping other players play better when he's in there," Saban said. "And he has played smart for the most part all spring. We put him in situations today to see -- even though he doesn't have game experience -- how he would handle those things, and in some cases he did a really good job.
"A couple of other times, I'm sure he's going to learn from that experience and have a chance to do better. So we're really encouraged by the progress he's made all spring."
In terms of leadership, Saban said all the quarterbacks "have done a pretty good job of that," but added that "it's more natural for some than others" without naming names. But the issue, Saban said, comes from finding the player who can lead and perform well "with the most consistency."
With only two practices and A-Day left this spring, don't expect a decision anytime soon.
"This is not something that you can just sort of wave a wand and say 'OK, I think we've got it here,'" Saban said. "This decision is going to be made over time. And we're going to be fair and give everybody a fair opportunity. And when the time comes, we're going to have to make a choice and a decision and go to work on making that guy the guy."
-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.