Alabama Crimson Tide: Nick Saban Smart to Not Name Starting QB

By Tim Letcher
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS

While other teams in the SEC have already named their starting quarterbacks, the Alabama Crimson Tide have not. Head coach Nick Saban has not made public which quarterback will start the season opener against the West Virginia Mountaineers, which is now just nine days away.

In fact, on a national radio show Wednesday, Saban said he likes the fact that West Virginia must prepare for both Jacob Coker and Blake Sims because they are different types of quarterbacks. Coker is more of a pocket passer, in the mold of former Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron. Sims is a dual-threat option who can make plays with his arm and his legs.

While it may seem that Saban is just waffling on making a decision, it actually goes much deeper than that. Coker is likely to be the starter for the majority of the season. However, he was a late arrival to campus and is still learning the playbook and his teammates.

Sims, on the other hand, is a senior who has the respect of his teammates. And despite the fact that Alabama has a new scheme, under new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, Sims was able to participate in spring drills and has been practicing with the team all summer.

Saban is always speaking about “the process” when he talks about the success that Alabama has had during his time in Tuscaloosa. By not making the quarterback announcement publically, Saban is letting Coker go through the process without putting pressure on him to immediately know everything and everyone around him.

The guess here is that West Virginia had better prepare for both quarterbacks, because both will likely play in the season opener. From there, Saban will follow his own process to determine who plays the most for the remainder of the season.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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