Since the day he arrived in Tuscaloosa, the future of highly coveted quarterback Phillip Sims has been a subject of great debate.
The upcoming red-shirt sophomore will enter spring practice next month with the goal of pushing incumbent starter A.J. McCarron for the No. 1 spot.
Sims’ mindset is admirable, and a valuable trait in any backup at any position.
Still, his quest to unseat a player that just led the Crimson Tide to the BCS National Championship is likely unrealistic.
So where does that leave Sims in Nick Saban’s future plans?
With one year of separation between him and McCarron, he could bide his time and take over for McCarron as a fifth-year senior.
A similar situation occurred years ago at Georgia when former Bulldogs quarterback D.J. Shockley sat patiently behind David Greene until he graduated—and then led the Bulldogs to an SEC title in 2005 as a senior.
Or with three seasons of eligibility left, he could transfer and find a school that will enable him to get on the field immediately.
A couple of other scenarios could give Sims a chance to see the field earlier in Tuscaloosa.
McCarron, a fourth-year junior, could emerge as a potential candidate to forgo his senior season should he have a big 2012 season.
With a new offensive coordinator in Doug Nussmeier coming in, Sims will have a chance to impress a new coach and perhaps find a way onto the field in a situational role.
Given that he and McCarron were in a virtual dead heat for the starting job entering the 2011 season, the coaching staff can take comfort in the value of having a talented backup quarterback available.
The trio of quarterback options behind Sims—red-shirt freshman Phillip Ely, sophomore Blake Sims (who played some running back last season) and incoming freshman Alec Morris—are all unlikely to threaten to take the backup role away from the Chesapeake, Va. native.
So while the options appear cloudy for Sims, he still remains the best option to take over for the Tide when McCarron departs.