Alabama Football: Saban refuses to name Sims or Coker as starter

By Hunter Ford

Enquiring minds want to know who the Alabama starting quarterback will be when The Crimson Tide plays West Virginia, Saturday, in Atlanta.

Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t tipping his hand, even this close to the season opener. During his SEC coaches teleconference interview today, Saban was asked why senior Blake Sims had not been tapped as a starter, considering that the more experienced player usually gets the starter’s role. Sims is in competition with Florida State transfer Jacob Coker, who will have two years of eligibility in Tuscaloosa, and has only been practicing with the Tide since the beginning of fall practice.

“I think it’s our responsibility to give both guys an opportunity,” Saban said. “That’s how we recruit players to come here, that they’re all going to get a fair opportunity to play. We’re going to choose the best players that give our team the best opportunity to be successful based on how they perform.”

“Both guys have performed well,” Saban continued. “And Blake has performed very, very well. Nobody ever said he wasn’t going to start the game, so I don’t know why you would make those kinds of assumptions.

“There is no hypothetical. I’m not going to answer hypothetical questions. Our situation here is our situation here. I’ve been very upfront about how we’re managing it. And I don’t care about ‘typically’ anything, or anything hypothetical.”

Saban did not commit to playing both quarterbacks, or name an official starter.

At a press conference yesterday, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said he expects Alabama to play both quarterbacks. He also said the situation has been over-hyped.

“A lot has been made about their quarterback spot…I think too much has been made about their quarterback spot,” Holgorsen said. “They’ve got two guys who are going to be able to run their offense. To me, with coach Kiffin- I’ve known coach Kiffin for a long time- he has a great history of being able to coach some pretty good offenses. I don’t think what they do offensively is going to change a whole bunch.”

The lack of official snaps for Sims and Coker during their careers has limited the study of their tendencies.

“There is only so much you can prepare for,” Holgorsen said. “The flip side of that is I doubt they’re going to have two different offenses for those two guys. There is only so much they can prepare for as well.”