Alabama coach Nick Saban announced the obvious Tuesday when he said Jacob Coker hasn’t won the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback job yet.
Apparently, it might be best to wait at least until Coker has gone through one practice before declaring him the next great Crimson Tide game manager. Go figure.
Saban has coached the game long enough to know a whole lot better than us the “obvious” choice isn’t always so obvious once they’re on campus and in football pads.
Coker seems the best bet at this point to star this fall. The former Florida State backup is built like the prototypical Saban pro-style quarterback. Also, it seems unlikely he would’ve transferred to Tuscaloosa had he not gotten a promise about a decent shot at the job.
But Blake Sims hasn’t ruled himself out of the starting job, and after a good spring, he seems ready to make a big push to succeed three-year starter AJ McCarron. Redshirt freshman Cooper Bateman always seemed like McCarron 2.0 as well.
Alabama has some history with surprise winners of its various quarterback derbies. Older Tide fans will remember in the 1980s when the Crimson Tide landed a trio of highly regarded quarterbacks — Vince Sutton, Jeff Dunn and Billy Ray. But the quarterbacks who eventually won the job and had success were a trio of recruiting after-thoughts — Mike Shula, David Smith and Gary Hollingsworth.
Jay Barker, the quarterback of Alabama’s 1992 national champions and the 1994 team that finished fifth nationally, wasn’t a star recruit, either.
McCarron was a four-star prospect when Alabama signed him in 2009, but he beat out a pair of quarterbacks more highly regarded — Star Jackson, who came to Tuscaloosa in 2008, and Phillip Sims, who arrived in 2010.