Blake Sims performed well at times this spring, but struggled during the A-Day game.
The Crimson Tide entered spring trying to shed the ugly aftertaste of the end of the 2013 season. Alabama entered the final week of the regular season in position to battle for its third consecutive national championship but lost to archrival Auburn in the “Miracle at Jordan-Hare” and suffered a dispiriting Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma.
One of spring’s biggest charges for Saban and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was to establish a quarterback, or at the very least, establish a competitor for transfer Jacob Coker, who will arrive in May after completing his Florida State graduation requirements.
Senior Blake Sims looked like that guy early on, throwing for 515 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in the Crimson Tide’s first two scrimmages, according to stats released by Alabama.
But with 73,000 (and Coker) watching on A-Day, Sims struggled, completing 13 of 30 passes for 178 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Although it can be precarious to draw judgments from spring games, fellow quarterbacks Cooper Bateman, David Cornwell, Alec Morris and Parker McLeod completed 14 of 33 passes for 165 yards, a touchdown and two picks.
Saban wasn’t pleased, according to AL.com. "I didn't think the consistency on offense was what I would have liked it to be today," Saban said. "We did make some plays, but there wasn't really the consistency that you would really like to see in the offense."
Coker has been called “the leader in the clubhouse” in the Tide’s quarterback derby, and that apparently hasn’t changed. Given the importance of graduated quarterback A.J. McCarron to Alabama’s offense, it was crucial for his successor to get as much experience as possible with the guys he’ll be playing with this fall.
Coker will have a chance to get acclimated with his new receivers this summer, but having an unsettled quarterback situation entering preseason practice isn’t optimal.
Making matters worse, projected starting sophomore cornerback Eddie Jackson suffered a torn ACL with a week left in spring practice, leaving Alabama with a combined nine returning starts between three players.
Highly touted incoming freshman Tony Brown will get more reps at the position, but injuries like Jackson’s are never what coaches want.