TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ University of Alabama coach Nick Saban made it clear what he thought about fans who have already taken sides in the quarterback competition between senior Blake Sims and junior Jacob Coker during his postgame press conference Saturday.

“I really don’t care what side they take,” he said. “The only side that matters is the side that we take.

“This is not going to be a popularity contest. We’ll do what’s best for our team.”

As expected, both quarterbacks played during Alabama’s 41-0 victory over Florida Atlantic at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which was called with 7:53 remaining on the clock due to inclement weather.

In terms of yards, Sims passed for 214 yards and Coker had 202, but that’s about where the comparisons end.

With Sims starting offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin attacked sideline-to-sideline resulting in touchdowns on each of the first three possessions. Sims ran in the first score, but had a 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to junior wide receiver to Amari Cooper followed by junior running back Kenyan Drake’s 39-yard version for a 21-0 lead.

“Confidence has come quick because of the players we have out there, and with our staff,” Sims said. “You have no choice but to be confident.”

In sharp contrast, Kiffin had Coker throwing almost exclusively downfield, resulting in some high throws but also his 43-yard sideline strike to Cooper.

Making his Crimson Tide debut, Coker’s first possession stalled in the red zone, resulting in a field goal, but he came back to throw his first touchdown pass at Alabama, a 3-yard completion to senior fullback Jalston Fowler.

“That first one got away from me a little bit and I overthrew ArDarius (Stewart) on that one,” he said. “Otherwise I didn’t think it was too bad. It wasn’t as smooth as I’d like it to be, but we’ll get there.

“I had fun.”

The one major gaffe for Sims came on third-and-goal at the FAU 1-yard line when he went to hand the ball off to T.J. Yeldon and the running back wasn’t expecting it, instead looking to pass-block. The Owls recovered the fumble.

“We did what we needed to do on the next drive, I guess that’s the good way of looking at it,” Sims said. “We’ll look back on it tomorrow and learn from it.”

Coker’s biggest mistake was at the end of the first half when Alabama had third-and-2 at the FAU 4 and 7 seconds remaining. Instead of making sure that at worst the Crimson Tide would still attempt a field goal, he took the team’s first sack of the young season, which allowed the clock to run out.

“That was just me,” the Florida State transfer said. “They gave me the signal and I screwed up. I didn’t get the full play in so it was me kind of calling my own play at the line of scrimmage and it was really a big fiasco. I screwed everything up.”

“I thought Jake played just as well in the second half as he did in the first half. He played a little better as time went on. I’m sure nobody feels worse than him for missing the guy in the flats in the red zone wide open. He’ll definitely get better because of it.”

Overall, Sims completed 11 of 13 passes and finished with a passer-efficiency rating of 273.66, while Coker was 15 of 24, and 146.95.

“They’re both good players,” FAU coach Charlie Partridge said, before adding about Saban: “Now he has a chance to compare the two.”

Which is what the fans are already doing, especially now that they’ve finally seen Coker play in an Alabama uniform.

“I think we’ll need both guys to play well for us at some point during the season, so we’ll continue to try and help both guys to develop.”