Let the games begin: Alabama begins the hunt for AJ McCarron’s replacement

It’s been three years since we stood in this position. Last time it took all spring, all summer, and two games into the season to choose a starting quarterback. Nick Saban’s deliberations paid off, and the legend of AJ McCarron was born.

Much like in 2011, don’t expect coach to rush to a decision – especially with six players competing.

“We’re not going to be in any hurry to decide who the quarterback is,” Saban said Wednesday in a meeting with local reporters. “We’re going to give everybody a lot of opportunity to compete.”

Saban knows the precise traits he wants out of his quarterback, which is much more than the “game manager” label the position has received at Alabama since his arrival.

“I think the most important thing about playing quarterback is to be able to be to process information quickly, make a decision, throw the ball accurately in the passing game, and I think the biggest thing is to be able to manage and get us in the right plays when we’re sort of running the ball,” Saban said. “Whoever can do that on the most consistent basis and have the kind of leadership to affect the people on offense around them is the guy that will probably have the best possibility to win the job.”

Saban and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will lean on the one benchmark for the Tide over their recent run of success: consistency.

“I think it’s important to get it right,” Saban said. “Consistency in performance sort of defines success in anything. It’s no different in this.”

The quarterback competition will have twists and turns, and will no doubt be an interesting subplot during the season. While it may be maddening for fans and media, if this one pays off like the elongated 2011 battle, it’ll be well worth the wait.