TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When CBS announcer Gary Danielson got done saying “Wow” after the 43-yard read-option touchdown run by University of Alabama senior quarterback Blake Sims, he made two important points Saturday.

  • 1) That the Crimson Tide will start running more of those types of plays, and;
  • 2) Because it’ll make Sims more susceptible to injury junior quarterback Jacob Coker’s development is more important than ever.

“Hopefully,” Sims said Monday when asked about the possibility of more carries. “Maybe that run showed some people some things and what I can probably do. If it doesn’t come, I’m fine with it because we have great players on our team and we have to use them.”

Regardless, the play gave opposing teams yet something else to worry about and prepare for when it faces No. 4 Alabama (6-1 overall, 3-1 SEC). This week that’s Tennessee (7:30 p.m. ET ESPN2), the Crimson Tide’s final game before a bye and brutal final month of the regular season.

But Sims got another taste of the toll that comes with his position last Saturday when he got up reaching for his shoulder during the 59-0 victory against Texas A&M. He didn’t miss a play, though, and completed 16 of 27 attempts for 268 yards and three touchdowns, not including the one he ran in, before behind pulled early in the third quarter.

“Kinda felt it a little bit,” Sims said. “Got a little pain, but it didn’t last very long.”

The initial injury occurred when trying to run for a first down against Florida on Sept. 20. He left the game and was checked out in the Alabama locker room while Coker finished the series, but did return and completed more passes in the 42-21 victory.

Afterward, the injury was described as a bruised shoulder, similar to what AJ McCarron had last season, and coaches were cautious with him during the Crimson Tide’s subsequent bye.

Meanwhile, Nick Saban announced that junior center Ryan Kelly (sprained knee) is expected to have a full return this week, and senior right tackle Austin Shepherd (knee, ankle) will be limited for a couple of days. Redshirt freshman Bradley Bozeman made two starts in Kelly’s place and sophomore Grant Hill filled in for Shepherd against Texas A&M.

Even without Kelly, who suited up for the Aggies but didn’t play after sustaining the injury against Ole Miss on Oct. 4, Alabama’s offensive line has its best game of the season with left Arie Kouandjio named one of the players of the week by the Crimson Tide coaching staff.

Joining him were junior running back T.J. Yeldon on offense, linebackers Ryan Anderson and Reggie Ragland on defense, and Reuben Foster and Dillon Lee on special teams.

Ragland said that Foster was ok after leaving the A&M game due to “something around his shoulder.”

“He’s becoming a monster and he’s going to keep becoming a monster,” Ragland said. “He watches film all the time. He’s doing the things he’s supposed to do on and off the field and the sky is the limit for him.”