Running through the ESPN "Car Wash" of programs yesterday, Nick Saban tried to shoot a few holes in predictions that his team will win the SEC and possibly the national crown. His main reason for downplaying the hype? His starting quarterback -- be it Blake Sims or Jacob Coker -- will be a first-year starter.
"Well, I think it is a little bit unrealistic because basically what you're talking about is two guys (who) are untested. And when you have an untested player at that position, you can be pleasantly surprised with the way they develop and how they do and how the team sorta rallies around them and the impact of their leadership, decision-making, those things are critical at the quarterback position...
They can also go to where they turn the ball over and do some things that make it hard to overcome. Because quarterback is such a critical position to me. Football is a great team game, but then there’s the quarterback. And most successful teams have a guy that, at least in their system, is functionally successful for the other players on the team. And in our case, because we have good skill guys, it’s important that our guy can distribute the ball to those guys and make those guys effective players for us."
What Saban didn't mention was the fact that his last two "untested" quarterbacks -- Greg McElroy in 2009 and AJ McCarron in 2011 -- led the Crimson Tide to BCS championships in their debut seasons.