While far from Saturday’s most thrilling game, Alabama’s 41-0 blowout win against Florida-Atlantic provided head coach Nick Saban an opportunity to see what both of his quarterbacks had to offer in a real game without having to worry about losing.
Senior Blake Sims started his second consecutive game and looked impressive as he led Alabama’s offense to a number of quick scores. By the end, he had completed 11-of-13 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 14 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
The Crimson Tide also got their first look at Jacob Coker, a junior who transferred from Florida State last year. After a slow start, Coker looked better as the game went on. He completed 15-of-24 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown while adding 23 yards rushing on four carries against the Owls.
Despite their differences, both Sims and Coker employed similar strategies throughout the game: get the ball to wide receiver Amari Cooper as quickly and often as humanly possible (Cooper finished the game with 13 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown).
Prior to Saturday’s game, Saban made it clear Alabama’s quarterback competition was wide open, and that he planned to use both quarterbacks in the game.
“This is not one that’s going to be a popularity contest,” Saban said after the game.
Considering the level of their opponent, the success that both Sims and Coker enjoyed needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s doubtful either player will be named the team’s full-time starting quarterback ahead of next week’s game against Southern Mississippi, but at the very least Saban can rest easy knowing he has two capable signal-callers to choose from.
Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Marvin Gentry