TUSCALOOSA _ It’s been pretty much the same thing since Jacob Coker arrived on the University of Alabama campus in May.

June news flash: The Crimson Tide’s quarterback competition continues.

July alert: Heading into training camp no one has won the job.

August update: Nick Saban hasn’t named a starter yet.

Pretty soon we’ll have something like “Breaking: Crimson Tide in crisis, Day 231” because that’s how long its been since AJ McCarron ended his three-year run of taking snaps for Alabama, and there’s still no set replacement.

This, of course, has caused some angst among the Crimson Tide faithful, who have seen just three starting quarterbacks since 2006 – the same number Florida and Tennessee had last season. While some have been nothing short of acting like Chicken Little repeatedly saying “The sky is falling,” most have taken a more reasonable wait-and-see approach.

Reporters haven’t had much to go on either since both fall scrimmages were closed (like usual), and Coker hasn’t been made available for any interviews. Considering how much the transfer from Florida State is already dealing with one can understand the approach, leaving his new teammates to fill in some of the blanks.

“He’s a little bit of a country guy,” junior center Ryan Kelly said about Coker, whom he’s roomed with. “Being from down South he’s a big hunter and fisherman.

“He’s not much into technology. He’s a good guy that you always want on your side. He’s a hard worker and that’s what you want as a player.”

Meanwhile, Sims, who used to go to position meetings with wide receiver Julio Jones and running backs Mark Ingram Jr. and Trent Richardson, is popular. He’s been at the Capstone for four years and done everything asked of him and more.

Although this is anything but Saban’s first go-around with a quarterback competition the potential pitfall of it causing a split locker room is enormous. If half of the team wants one guy and the other feels differently it’s only a matter of time before things fall apart, especially considering the way last season ended and players subsequently started pointing fingers at one another.

So far it hasn’t been an issue, in part because the coaching staff has tread carefully while also making it an open competition.

“That’s what I like about the team this year,” sophomore wide receiver Chris Black said. “Everybody’s close, like a brotherhood.”

Consequently, the old saying that “If you have two starting quarterbacks, you don’t have one,” has yet to apply.

There was no incumbent and this is not an updated version of Smelley Garcia, the term fans created when South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier platooned Steven Garcia with Tuscaloosa product Chris Smelley even though they appeared to be similar both physically and in playing style.

Granted, Spurrier never met a quarterback that he couldn’t pull, but in contrast Coker and Sims are anything but similar.

While the 6 foot 5 Coker is still trying to get comfortable with his new surroundings – which is something that can’t be overstated as there’s a big difference in learning what to do and knowing an offense – it’s impossible to overlook the added dimension he could potentially bring to the passing game.

“Coker definitely has a great arm,” ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. “This guy can spin it as well as anyone who’s played at Alabama. Physically, if you just watch him, his ability to throw the ball, ‘Wow.’”

Meanwhile, Sims has shown what he can do in the read-option and spent the whole spring and summer leading the offense. Even though Alabama has a new coordinator in Lane Kiffin he knows the ins and outs of the lineup, playbook and Saban’s scheme.

“Blake’s really improved first of all his knowledge of the offense,” Saban said. “He’s capable of doing a lot more things. Really improved as a passer and because he’s improved as a passer, I think he’s more confident. So he doesn’t go what I call rat-trap and start running around.”

So far, one can only conclude that Saban not making a decision yet has been a smart move. It’s kept the team together and both players are ready to go. That’s especially important when considering that Alabama was one of only two teams in the Southeastern Conference to have a quarterback start every game last year.

Ole Miss was the other. That’s also when the league had strong group of veteran league quarterbacks who due to their experience one would think would be more adept to avoiding injures, etc.

In essence, the decision about who wins the starting quarterback job probably won’t be Saban’s because eventually someone will separate himself, and that will be it. It’ll be the player who fits better with the offense, who makes the least mistakes, and, perhaps most importantly, is the one his teammates are most comfortable with.

But both are going to play, and surrounded by playmakers like Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon, DeAndrew White, Derrick Henry, Christion Jones, O.J. Howard, etc., Alabama’s offense has an enormous amount of potential this season.

“It’ll definitely be more explosive and more aggressive,” Black said.