The Crimson Tide still has veteran AJ McCarron, who is looking to win his third straight national championship this fall, but there isn't much experience at all behind him. Ely redshirted in 2011, but passed for 42 yards and a touchdown on four pass attempts last season.
Alabama will likely turn to redshirt junior Blake Sims, who has spent time at both running back and quarterback, and redshirt freshman Alec Morris as backups to McCarron. Sims, who has rushed for 294 yards and two touchdowns, and passed for 77 passing yards during his career, is a much more athletic option for the Tide. However, you would think the staff might be a little more comfortable with a more traditional passer if McCarron were out of the lineup.
Morris has no college experience, but he did pass for 3,242 yards and 35 touchdowns with six interceptions as a senior in high school.
Ely wasn't exactly an All-American, and Nick Saban doesn't really have to ask his quarterbacks to do much with that running game. Still, not having Ely on the roster leaves Alabama with a big hole behind McCarron.
Keeping McCarron healthy now becomes a major priority for Alabama.
The Tide signed No. 3-ranked Cooper Bateman and No. 31-ranked Parker McLeod in its 2013 class, and also has walk-on Luke Del Rio. All of them enrolled this year and went through spring practice. Alabama clearly has plenty of bodies to work with, but outside of Sims, there is no experience. That has to be a concern.
If McCarron goes down, Alabama could find itself in some real trouble this fall.