According to Bleacher report, sources close to the Alabama program say that the Crimson Tide are leaning towards starting Blake Sims in the opener against West Virginia. Late Thursday night, CBSsportsline.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted that Alabama will indeed start with Sims, although the quarterback competition with Jacob Coker is not completely over.
Both quarterbacks will have their chance under center on Saturday, but it’s not certain that either player will win the job by the end of the game. It’s a good thing that Alabama should have a dominant rushing game to help alleviate the inexperience at the quarterback position. Blake Sims is a fifth year senior, but he has not started a game for the Crimson Tide.
During practice, Nick Saban stated that the competition has been so close. However, it’s not all because of greatness. According to ESPN’s Nick Scarborough, every time Saban feels he’s ready to make a decision on a quarterback, inconsistent play shows up out of the blue.
It’s widely known that Jacob Coker transferred from Florida State after losing the starting job to Jameis Winston. Once his decision was made to come to Alabama, it was a foregone conclusion that he would be Nick Saban’s choice to replace A.J. McCarron. It goes to show, the smoothest well laid plans don’t always pan out right away.
Here is an excerpt from Nick Saban‘s statement on the quarterback battle during his radio show. “My job is to play the best players and the guys that have done best the job for this game. For this game. That does not mean that it's going to stay that way. It does not mean that if you're the starting pitcher that you're going to pitch for nine innings. The manager sometimes comes in and takes the guy out. All these things are options that are available.
We have faith, trust and confidence in Blake Sims. We're not going to evaluate Blake and he doesn't have to look over his shoulder while he's playing. I think there may be some occasion where the other guy deserves an opportunity at some point in time this season to show what he can do.”
Clearly, Nick Saban plans to play Coker in this game, and it’s hard to see many situations where the former Florida State quarterback doesn’t see the field. However, Saban knows that Blake Sims is fully invested into this Crimson Tide program.
In three years as Alabama’s backup quarterback, Blake Sims has thrown 39 passes and he’s completed 59 percent of them. Sims added two passing touchdowns last season. He also had 355 yards rushing in mop up duty, while scoring two touchdowns for the Crimson Tide.
Jacob Coker threw 41 passes for Florida State, completing 51 percent of them. He also passed for one touchdown and one interception.
It shows just how much inexperience that Alabama quarterbacks have going into the 2014 season. As many have wondered, this quarterback competition will either raise the level of play once the games start, or crush the quarterbacks under the weight of too many expectations.