The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide enter Saturday's college football season opener against West Virginia with some uncertainty at the quarterback position.
Sims has stuck with the program in Tuscaloosa for years awaiting his turn to take the reins of the offense, but Coker has been gathering momentum ever since his arrival. Jameis Winston beat out Coker last year in a competition for Florida State's starting QB job, and Winston went on to win the Heisman Trophy and a national title.
That led to Coker transferring to threaten Sims' potential dream shot. Fowler notes in his report that the two signal-callers will both be used versus the Mountaineers, so this is in no way an indication that Sims will be the No. 1 for the rest of the 2014 campaign.
ESPN.com's Alex Scarborough observed recently how back-and-forth the competition has been between Sims and Coker:
Consistency missing from Sims and Coker. Saban said the day he thinks one guy is ready to take the job, the next day it changes.— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) August 19, 2014
It hasn't taken brilliance under center for Alabama to succeed in recent years. Marginal talents such as Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron have made smart decisions, relying on a strong defense and punishing running game to carry the Tide to the top of the SEC on a consistent basis.
The following are some of Saban's comments on the heated quarterback battle from his radio show on Thursday. They hinted that Sims could be the guy, at least for the West Virginia game, via AL.com's Andrew Gribble:
My job is to play the best players and the guys that have done best the job for this game. For this game. That does not mean that it's going to stay that way. It does not mean that if you're the starting pitcher that you're going to pitch for nine innings. The manager sometimes comes in and takes the guy out. All these things are options that are available.
We have faith, trust and confidence in Blake Sims. We're not going to evaluate Blake and he doesn't have to look over his shoulder while he's playing. I think there may be some occasion where the other guy deserves an opportunity at some point in time this season to show what he can do.
As more of a dual threat, Sims brings that different dimension to the offense that Alabama has lacked.
The Tide have seen playmaking QBs who can run such as Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Oklahoma's Trevor Knight light them up under the national spotlight, which may enhance Sims' odds of starting in the future.
Who gives Alabama the best shot at a national title?
Coker is more of a prototypical pocket passer that the Tide have deployed to great success in the Saban era. There's a chance that Coker could show off superior passing ability and unseat Sims as the starter right away.
Having a two-quarterback system is not often a recommendable strategy, but with how stacked the rest of Alabama's roster is, perhaps Saban can make it work if he elects to go that route. At some point in the season, one player will likely take command of the huddle and earn all of the snaps.
But Saban is being fickle as to who that will be. This flip-flopping situation could bring out the best in Sims and Coker—or it could backfire and leave the Tide with an unexpected down year.