ESPN invasion provides insight on Alabama's quarterback competition
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. _ With the SEC Network preparing to launch Thursday evening at 6 p.m. (ET), ESPN essentially invaded the University of Alabama practice facilities Wednesday as the Crimson Tide held its final two-a-day.
Among those on-hand for the morning workout included ESPN personalities Tim Rinadli, Rece Davis, Danny Kanell and former coach Butch Davis.
Saban talked a little bit about his approach to the quarterback competition between transfer Jacob Coker and Blake Sims during training camp for a segment on “Bus Blitz” with Davis and Davis.
“We started out splitting time with guys,” he said. “Maybe one guy takes one period,and the other guy takes the other period. What we started doing this week is for a practice a guy is the starter and the other guy is the backup. They take turns. I think it gives a guy a chance to show his leadership, show how he can affect other people, and basically how he can go out there and consistently execute and do the job for us.”
Saban called the team a work in progress with the “parts in place,” but added that Sims, a popular fifth-year player who led the team through spring practices before Coker arrived in May, was the starter for Wednesday’s morning practice in full pads, while Coker will handle things tonight.
“I think that’s a dynamic that’s probably a difficult management for Jacob,” Saban said. “Everybody loves Blake Sims. He’s a great teammate. He’s a hard worker. He’ll do anything for the team. He’ll play on special teams. He’ll go play running back if we ask him.
“Jake has a great personality. The players really like him, but to develop friendships and relationship is really important in terms of team chemistry, and a guy who’s in a leadership position. That takes a little bit of time. The first step is that is the players have to respect you and like you. I think we’re off to a good start with Jacob in that regard.”
“Chemistry” has been a frequent topic of discussion regarding the quarterbacks during camp as Alabama prepares for its second and final scrimmage set for Saturday. Passing numbers for the first scrimmage, held in a downpour at Bryant-Denny Stadium last week, were not released.
After the morning practice, Butch Davis said in another segment that some of Coker’s throws really stood out, and predicted that he’ll eventually win the position.
Alabama is being profiled throughout the day on ESPN. On Thursday, the SEC Network will air a sit-down interview with Saban and Marcus Spears, a defensive lineman who played for the coach at LSU, is slated to report from Tuscaloosa during “Live Whip Around Reporting” during the first show.