Aug 29, 2001
By JOHN ZENOR
AP Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The UCLA Bruins, a national television audience and a packed house at Bryant-Denny Stadium will know for sure Saturday night.
Until then, the secret of Alabama's starting quarterback will remain just that.
"It's kind of fun keeping y'all in the dark," said Tyler Watts, the likely choice.
The point, however, is keeping the Bruins' coaches in the dark and forcing them to prepare to face either Watts, an option threat, or the strong-armed Andrew Zow.
"Any edge that you can have over any other team, you want to take advantage of," Watts said. "Theoretically, if you don't know who to prepare for, the possibility (exists) that they have to come up with two different gameplans. That's the idea behind it.
"But you're never guaranteed anything. They might have already decided what they're going to do regardless of who plays, and it could be nothing we've been practicing."
The common response among Alabama's players when asked who the starter will be is: "I don't know."
Coach Dennis Franchione said they know but he "asked them to keep it in the family."
"I think our team knows what's going to happen," he said. "I think they're comfortable and they're not concerned about it.
"I don't see a disadvantage for us. I do know it is challenging to prepare for two sometimes."
Franchione said both quarterbacks would likely play, but said the flow of the game could dictate that.
Watts has been running the first-team offense for the most part in practice the past two weeks. Zow is just 361 yards shy of being Alabama's all-time passing leader.
Both are proving they can be trusted with a secret, if not necessarily the Tide offense.
Asked who would start, Zow said, "I have no idea."
Then, he said with a grin, "We've got an idea and we're looking forward to it."
Zow said the coaches offered two options for players facing quarterback queries.
"Tell them you don't know. Or tell them, 'Wait 'til Saturday,"' he said.
Zow entered the fall with a slight edge over Watts on the depth chart, but Watts appears to have overtaken him.
The Bruins' coaches will have no trouble finding film of both quarterbacks.
Watts started four games last season before going down with a torn knee ligament and has played in 15 games the past two years.
Zow started the rest of the way and has 32 starts. He said the players aren't focusing on who starts at quarterback.
"We're all working for each other," Zow said. "No matter who's back there, they'll be prepared."