Tide notebook: Sims impresses Saban, McCarron
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Oct 07, 2013 | 2058 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama backup quarterback Blake Sims (6) runs past Georgia State safety Arington Jordan. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama backup quarterback Blake Sims (6) runs past Georgia State safety Arington Jordan. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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TUSCALOOSA — In just his second year playing the position for Alabama, quarterback Blake Sims has drastically improved in the eyes of his teammates and coaches.

Sims, a redshirt sophomore from Gainesville, Ga., entered Saturday’s victory over Georgia State during the second quarter, replacing starter AJ McCarron.

“(Blake) did a good job,” McCarron said. “Came in, took command of the offense the way he was supposed to, was efficient with the ball, proud of him.”

Sims was an efficient 14-of-18 passing for 130 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

“There’s a lot of other things that Blake can do to be effective because he’s an athletic guy. He’s a very good runner, he’s capable of running on quarterback runs,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “We didn’t really want to do that in this game. We wanted him to play quarterback in our offense, which I thought he did a very good job of.”

Saban said there is still room for Sims to improve.

“I would just say in his continued development, we had a couple of illegal procedure penalties, whether it’s consistency in cadence, command, that type of stuff, consistency in performance,” Saban said. “He has improved to a large degree as a passer. His judgment has improved as a passer, and he has to continue to have confidence in his ability to pass and know that he doesn’t have to make plays with his feet all the time, which I think this last game helped him in that regard.”

FACING THE WILDCATS: Kentucky heads into Saturday’s game against the top-ranked Crimson Tide as a 27-point underdog. The Wildcats are 1-4, but have played three top 25 teams, including a 35-28 nail-biter against South Carolina on this weekend.

“Another very tough task playing Alabama, extremely well-coached team, very physical, and everything they are built up to be,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops told reporters during his Monday news conference. “They deserve all the credit they have been given for what they have done through the course of this year, and of course with their history. So it will be a real challenge, but it should be a lot of fun for us as a staff and for our players to embrace such a challenge.”

Saban said he doesn’t want his players overlooking the Wildcats.

“We expect this to be a difficult game,” Saban said. “I think that our players need to prepare for this team with a lot of respect. I think our players understand how difficult it is to play on the road in our game.”

INJURY NEWS: Saban said outside linebacker Denzel Devall (knee) will be limited early this week during practice, but should be able to play Saturday at Kentucky.

Devall sprained his left knee in the first quarter of Saturday’s 45-3 victory over Georgia State on Saturday. Following the game, Saban said Devall could have played if necessary, but the team wanted to get other players some reps.

Xzavier Dickson stepped in for Devall on Saturday.

Center Ryan Kelly (knee) will miss his second straight game.

ALABAMA-ARKANSAS: By now, Alabama fans, coaches and players should be used to playing evening games.

Including Saturday’s game against Kentucky, the Crimson Tide will have its fifth evening game when Arkansas comes to town on Oct. 19. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The game will air on ESPN or ESPN2.
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