New offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin inherits a roster stacked with talent and experience at the skill positions, along with three returning starters on the offensive line. His top priority will be to find a clear top option at quarterback.
Spring practice featured a battle between five passers that produced little clarity—with senior Blake Sims and redshirt freshman Cooper Bateman doing a majority of the heavy lifting during the A-Day game. However, help is on the way in the form of Florida State transfer Jacob Coker—who arrives at the Capstone with plenty of praise from his former his former coach, Jimbo Fisher.
“As an athlete, he is a tremendous player,” Fisher told Mobile radio station WNSP in May (via Mark Heim of AL.com). “I think he is going to be a very high draft pick in the NFL. He has that type of potential. I'm a Jacob Coker fan, and I think he'll do great at Alabama. I think he'll have a tremendous career."
While the 6’5”, 230-pound Coker appears to have all physical tools necessary to be one of the nation’s top passers, he still has to go out and prove it. His first chance will come on the Tide’s practice fields—in an environment that may challenge him more than games in the fall.
Regardless, the answer to one of the Tide’s most burning offseason questions will begin to take shape when the pads come on next month.