Jacob Coker

Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker throws a long pass during the Florida Atlantic at Alabama game. Photo by Bill Wilson / The Anniston Star.

TUSCALOOSA — The Blake Sims offense doesn’t look like the Alabama offense fans have come to know under Nick Saban, but it’s effective.

The Jake Coker offense looks like Saban-era Alabama offense, and it’s effective.

At least both looked effective in Saturday’s weather-shortened, 41-0 Alabama victory over Florida Atlantic, but the Owls stood as much chance of stopping either Alabama offense as Saban had of stopping lightning.

Against most opponents on Alabama’s schedule, the Sims offense and the Coker offense will win for the second-ranked Crimson Tide. That’s true, if for no reason other than the talent Alabama can put around either quarterback.

But there will come that game or two where Alabama needs the long-ball threat to scare a defense. Coker showed that Saturday while approaching Sims’ mobility.

If Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin can get Coker not to take sacks in the red zone in the final seconds of a half, it’s hard to see how Coker is not the long-term answer for Alabama this season.

The good news is that Alabama doesn’t need a definitive answer yet. The Tide still has a glorified scrimmage against Southern Mississippi next week before playing Florida.

There’s an argument to be made that Alabama could and should use both quarterbacks this season. The no-huddle, pace game with Sims clicks. It clicked for touchdowns in Alabama’s first three drives Saturday.

Sims’ drives covered 74, 74 and 78 yards and took between 1:20 and 3:35. Alabama could use that in situations.

The best news for Alabama is its flexibility to be effective either way, but Saban reiterated Saturday that no-huddle offense is part of Kiffin’s strategy to manage Sims. It simplifies Sims’ calls.

That means Sims needs simplification to maximize his effectiveness, and simplification still didn’t prevent what Saban termed “calling the wrong play call, basically.” That wrong call caused T.J. Yeldon to fumble an unexpected handoff in the red zone.

The upside difference between the two quarterbacks showed when Coker fired a ball nearly 60 yards in his second possession. He overshot Amari Cooper and later overshot an open ArDarius Stewart, but Coker later hit both on deep balls.

Alabama has home-run receivers. Saturday, they showed they can turn quick screens into touchdowns as well as beat a secondary deep. Why not start a quarterback who can take advantage of both?

Saban’s answer so far has been that Sims is more reflexive doing his thing, but Coker got more that way by the minute during his first extended playing time with Alabama on Saturday. Assuming the redshirt junior and Florida State transfer reaches Sims’ level of comfort, it makes too much sense to take advantage of what looks to be the best arm of Alabama’s Saban era.

Coker showed in stretches Saturday he can manage the game, but he also showed he can break the game-manager mold that has marked Alabama quarterbacks the past eight years.

It comes down to Coker’s comfort level in running what he runs, and how quickly he can get there. He didn’t go through spring practice with Alabama, but maybe summer workouts, preseason camp and three regular-season games will get him there.

“Blake played well except for one play,” Saban said. “Jake got some experience, and I think that experience should help his confidence and his ability to play with a little better rhythm. He did some very good things today as well.”

Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.