TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ Phil Savage, the Executive Director of Reese’s Senior Bowl, predicts that Jacob Coker will be the starting quarterback for the University of Alabama’s season opener against West Virginia, but that senior Blake Sims will also get playing time.

However, Savage, who doubles as the Crimson Tide’s radio analyst for game broadcasts, also had a significant disclaimer: He has yet to watch a practice during training camp. He won’t make the trip up from Mobile until next week.

“I absolutely think both with play in the first game,” Savage said on “The Roundtable” on Jox 94.5 in Birmingham. “I think that Blake Sims will have a sequence of plays or a series, plays that really fit his skill set regardless of if he’s the starter or the backup.

“Of course, the first scrimmage was basically a washout.”

Coker, a transfer from Florida State, and Sims are competing for the starting job, and coaches are keeping things very close to the vest regarding their progress.

Alabama didn’t release any passing statistics for last Saturday’s first scrimmage, and Saban didn’t mention either quarterback by name during his subsequent press conference.

“I really thought we had some tempo, especially early on offense,” he said. “I thought we ran the ball really effectively. I thought both quarterbacks did a good job. I think it would be unfair to either player to really evaluate any kind of passing statistics based on today.”

Rain fell throughout the scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which at one point was delayed for 40 minutes due to lightning in the area. Saban also said that there were numerous dropped passes.

“I think they both did a lot of good things,” he added. “I think they both have some things that they wish they had back, and I think they both probably made some choices and decisions that we can improve on. But I also think that both guys showed that they’re capable of doing what we need to do with them on offense so that we can be effective with the
other players that we have.

“We’re not pleased or satisfied completely with where they are, but we’re not disappointed in the progress that we’re making at that position.”

While Coker is a pro-style thrower and Sims more a dual-threat, Saban said during SEC Media Days that he wasn’t looking to have a two-quarterback offense.

“It’s not something I would hope would happen,” he said. “Is it something I can totally rule out? Not really.”

Before saying that he thinks Coker will eventually win the job, Savage was asked by the radio show hosts which would be a bigger surprise, the Southeastern Conference getting shut out of the inaugural playoff or Sims starting against West Virginia. After a pause he said Sims.

Alabama will open the season Aug. 30 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.