SEC Football Q&A: Jacob Coker over Blake Sims, Heisman QBs and Impact Assistants

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 11, 2014

Every Friday, we feature questions from Twitter. Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee on Twitter at @BarrettSallee.

You have SEC questions, and I have SEC answers. Thank you for your questions. If I didn't get to them this week, they will be saved and used in the future.

And we're off! 

@BarrettSallee Assuming Blake Sims is the number 1 guy coming out of spring, do you think he has the ability to beat out Coker and start?

— Ben Wallace (@Bill_Braskyy) April 11, 2014

If you believe the spring hype that Blake Sims is taking the next step and progressed as the pocket passer, then he's certainly got a shot. If he emerges as the top contender following spring practice and Alabama's spring game next week, offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will like the fact that his ability to create with his legs is there as an insurance policy.

With that said, it's still Florida State transfer Jacob Coker's job to lose.

Kiffin and head coach Nick Saban wouldn't bring Coker, a two-year graduate transfer, on campus without thinking that he's not only a contender, but would enter fall camp as the man to beat for the job.

But is he worth the hype?

Technically he pushed Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston for the Florida State quarterback job all the way through fall camp last season, but that may be more lip service than anything else. His reputation is built off a very limited sample size in mop-up duty and second-hand information from closed practices, for the most part. Because of that, I'm not buying him as the second-coming of AJ McCarron quite yet.

Coker will be the front-runner when he gets to campus, and it will be up to Sims to unseat him. Even Sims' progress this spring is a bit of a mystery. But if his progression is real, he'll certainly make things interesting in fall camp.


@BarrettSallee Which new SEC starting QB could be a Heisman contender?

— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) April 11, 2014

We've seen redshirt freshmen quarterbacks win each of the last two Heisman Trophies, and there certainly are plenty of first-year starters to choose from this season in the SEC.

Let's eliminate some candidates first.

Hutson Mason, Dylan Thompson, Alabama's eventual winner and LSU's eventual winner (likely Brandon Harris) can take a seat. All of those teams will have running backs who will be gobbling up yards and touchdowns. Even though only two running backs have won the Heisman since the turn of the century, they can prevent quarterbacks from winning the Heisman. That's exactly what will happen with that group.

In order to compete with Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and the rest of the quarterbacks who will likely be in that discussion, an SEC quarterback is going to have to put up some video game numbers.

Because of that, Texas A&M is the likely landing spot if you're looking for a new starting quarterback who's a Heisman contender.

Is that true freshman early enrollee pro-style signal-caller Kyle Allen, veteran Matt Joeckel or dual-threat (and currently suspended) sophomore Kenny Hill? That remains to be seen. But head coach Kevin Sumlin adjusted the air raid style he was successful with at Houston with Case Keenum to fit Johnny Manziel's skills in his first season at Texas A&M in 2012.

If he did it once, he can do it again. Plus, unless A&M's defense takes a gigantic leap forward, he's going to be asking his quarterback to do a lot.


@BarrettSallee What new Coach will have the biggest impact for this season? Kiffin, Roper, or Jeremy Pruitt

— Steve Moulton (@sugarstevem) April 11, 2014

Jeremy Pruitt, no doubt.

Take nothing away from Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper or any other new assistant in the SEC, but Jeremy Pruitt is stepping into a perfect situation in Athens.

Let's take a step back, first. Former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's exit from the Georgia program—to anywhere—is the biggest assistant coaching move of the offseason in the SEC. On top of that, though, head coach Mark Richt went out and hired Jeremy Pruitt, fresh off his first season as Florida State's defensive coordinator and recently fitted for a national title ring, to run his 2014 defense.

There couldn't have been a more perfect hire. 

Pruitt has nine returning starters to work with, a deep and talented roster and the experience of being an elite coach and teacher—the latter of which being a trait that Grantham is clearly missing. On top of that, Pruitt is a trained secondary coach, which was Georgia's biggest problem on that side of the ball last season.

All are big hires, but Pruitt's is the biggest assistant coach hire not only in the SEC, but in the country.


Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee on Twitter at @BarrettSallee

* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All recruiting rankings are courtesy of 247Sports, and all stats are courtesy of



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