With AJ McCarron and his now wife Katherine Webb now living in Cincinnati, Alabama fans were left to wonder just who their next QB would be in the Saban era. While some have jumped to the conclusion that graduate transfer Jacob Coker (transferred from FSU) will be handed the starting job, Nick Saban has said otherwise. Saban gave non-committal answers to the press about his quarterbacks, even going as far as to say he hadn’t seen them throw the ball very much yet. While that’s hard to believe from a control freak like Saban, it is very believable that the quarterback race is wide open as the new SEC season approaches.
Along with Coker, two other names can be thrown into the ring in this boiling QB battle. Senior Blake Sims who has been a backup for the tide the past two seasons, and redshirt freshman Cooper Bateman (solid name).
While Bateman is considered to be a longshot to win the job, both Sims and Coker have a legitimate shot to be the face of the Alabama offense this year as they try to climb to the top of the mountain again. In fact the two have been battling so tightly and the race is so close that Saban even said he has considered running some sort of a two quarterback system at the start of the year.
Here is what Saban had to say about that possibility:
“It’s not something that I would hope would happen. Is it something that I can totally rule out? Not really because I think the skill set of Blake Sims can create problems for a defense. If we wanted to utilize him to do that in some kind of way, I guess you could say that we could possibly have a two-quarterback system.”
While I don’t believe that will actually happen (if you have two quarterbacks, you have zero), it speaks volumes to just how neck and neck these two are coming down the stretch into August.
Blake Sims seemed to be headed towards becoming the lead man as last year ended and AJ departed to the NFL, but Coker coming in shook up the plans. At 6’5 Coker is the prototypical QB and could fill the shoes of Mccarron quite nicely if given the shot, and would give Alabama a similar look and style on offense as we have seen the past few regimes under center. Sims on the other hand presents an entirely different set of skills under center and can wreak havoc on a defense from inside or outside of the pocket with the ball in his hands. With the speed of SEC defenders, Sims’ play making ability and use of his legs when plays break down can become increasingly valuable and as the game evolves, the mobile QB becomes increasingly more effective as well. Don’t forget, Saban badly wanted Jameis Winston, a guy who has a huge arm but also posses the ability to make something out of nothing and throws on the run at a high level.
Both Coker and Sims have proven they can handle the reins of the Tide offense and will have an excellent safety valve to lean on in the backfield with junior running back TJ Yeldon lining up beside them. Along with Yeldon, Kenyan Drake will also be featured in the ever star studded running game that we have become used to seeing from a Nick Saban led team. As the season inches closer and closer, so does the quarterback race, and with reviews raving for both players, Saban will have one of the most difficult decisions he has ever made on his hands when choosing his new leader as he aims to further cement his legacy with another championship year.
The Tide will open their season against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Georgia dome on August 30th.