TUSCALOOSA -- During the media’s viewing period of Alabama practices, it’s nearly impossible to get any information on the quarterback competition because the players are just going through their normal warm ups.
But in a live interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter following Wednesday’s morning practice, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said fifth-year senior Blake Sims and redshirt junior Jacob Coker are alternating practices as the starter and backup.
During the morning practice, Sims took all of the reps with the first team offense. Coker worked exclusively with the second team. Coker will be the starter for the Tide’s practice tonight.
“We started out sort of splitting time with guys,” Saban said on SportsCenter. “Maybe one guy takes one period, the other guy takes the other period.
“But what we started doing this week, for a practice, a guy is the starter, and the other guy is the backup. They take turns. I think it gives a guy a better chance to show his leadership, show how he can affect other people and basically how he can go out there and consistently execute and do the job for us.
“That’s sort of what we’re doing. Today it was Blake’s turn. Tonight it’ll be Jacob’s turn.”
Saban feels the Tide has a “good team.” On offense, he noted that Alabama has “really good runners and receivers.” Defensively, Saban said Alabama will rely on a lot of young players.
Still, much of the Tide’s success rests on the shoulders of its starting quarterback.
“How the quarterback situation sort of pans out for us and how somebody matures at that position to take advantage of those skill players is going to be a real key for us offensively,” Saban said.
Asked about the differences each quarterback faces when trying to affect their teammates, Saban revealed it’s a “dynamic that’s probably a difficult management for Jacob.”
“Everybody loves Blake Sims,” Saban said. “He’s a great teammate. He’s a hard worker. He’ll do anything for the team. He’ll play on special teams. He’ll go play running back if we ask him.
“Jake has a great personality and I think the players really like him, but to develop friendships and relationships is really important in terms of team chemistry and a guy in a leadership position. And that takes a little bit of time.
“The first step of it is, the players got to respect you and they got to like you. I think we’re off to a good start with Jake in that regard.”
Sports Writer Marq Burnett: On Twitter @Marq_Burnett.