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Alabama’s Sims Says Battle For Starting QB Gig Is “A Once In A Lifetime Opportunity”

gfx-they-said-it4Senior-to-be Blake Sims has a leg up on departed Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron in one area.  He’s already met with Tuscaloosa reporters.  McCarron wasn’t given his media baptism until he’d won the starter’s gig in August of his sophomore year.

Sims will compete for the Crimson Tide’s starting spot with incoming transfer Jacob Coker.  Coker will arrive this summer after leaving defending national champ Florida State.

So what’s Sims’ view of the quarterback opportunity and spring practice as a whole:


“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I’m having fun out there.  Everybody’s smiling.  Everybody’s having fun.  Just trying to do what we’ve got to do to be the best…

I think (the QB/receivers rapport is) very good, just communication and building a relationship so we know where we’re going to be with our body language.  Just if we try to say that if I was here, where would this person be, and try to be in the other person’s mind at all times.”


That should prove to be an advantage for Sims when his battle with Coker fires up this summer.  Many Tide fans are hoping Coker will step in and snag the starting reins.  But even on the competition front, Sims is saying all the right things:


“I’m ready for him to get here and make Bama even (that) much better as a team and bring his personality and make everybody smile and take in with open arms.”


For his career, Sims is 23-of-39 for 144 yards and two touchdowns in mop-up duty.  Coker was 21-of-41 for 295 yards one touchdown and one interception during his FSU career.

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SEC Headlines – 8/11/11 Part One

We’ll be making a quick day of it today due to a doctor’s appointment — sorry — so we’ll feature a few more headlines than usual… starting with:

1.  Tony Barnhart of says the SEC won’t be going to a nine-game league schedule anytime soon.

2.  Auburn’s freshman class is learning on the fly.

3.  Gus Malzahn says it’s “crunch time” as he tries to find a starting quarterback.

4.  Here’s an AU practice report.

5.  Despite rumors of serious injuries, Alabama running back Eddie Lacy is ready to run in 2011.

6.  Blake Sims brings an extra dimension to the Tide backfield.

7.  Here’s a UA practice report.

8.  Fullback Keiro Small is having a big impact in Arkansas’ preseason camp.

9.  Arkansas basketball game with UConn now has a tip time… opposite the SEC Championship Game in football.  (No doubt Hog fans hope that becomes a worry.)

10.  Arkansas hoops signee Aaron Ross will attend a prep school in Wisconsin.

11.  Could Arkansas be this year’s Auburn?

12.  Due to Steve Kragthorpe’s illness, LSU assistant Steve Ensminger will act as a sort of “utility” coach this fall.

13.  Here’s an LSU practice report.

14.  The summer has not been kind to LSU basketball.

15.  This writer says the NCAA’s “reform” push really isn’t about reform.

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McElwain Says He Feels Good About Bama QB Situation; We Say UA Needs To Find A Clear-Cut Starter

Alabama is a consensus preseason Top 5 team.  In many circles, they’re viewed as a potential national champ, too.

Nevermind the fact that the Crimson Tide still has no official starting quarterback.  And you can count Bama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain among those who aren’t worried by the lack of a sure-fire starter:

“We’re very excited about what we have happening at that position.  A lot of people will through and have a quarterback situation where they’re wondering who to play simply because they don’t really have a capable player at that position.  I think we’re fortunate here — and we’ll identify when the bullets fly — but we’re very fortunate about having some quality players at the position.  Phillip Sims, AJ McCarron, Blake Sims, have done a fantastic job at the position, and have learned and really done a good job of studying.”

As any Tide fan can point out, Bama didn’t know what it was getting in 2009 with Greg McElroy, either.  And that campaign turned out pretty well (if you like crystal footballs).

But at least McElroy grabbed the job and became the clear leader of Alabama’s offense.  This season, the Tide isn’t just dealing with a lack of experience, it’s dealing with a potential rift on the football team.

For their part, Sims and McCarron are laughing off — literally, they say — the idea that the two QBs are so competitive that they’re not friendly to one another.  We’ll take them at their word.

That doesn’t mean, however, that if Sims and McCarron both do some good and some bad early in the season, there might not develop a debate between all those offensive players around them.  The longer the two players split playing time, the more likely it becomes that two camps will develop.  That’s only natural.

Having two quarterbacks isn’t always a curse.  Last year LSU finished 11-2 with Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee sharing some duties.  But in a perfect world, a team will have a clear-cut, most-talented, starter and leader at signal-caller.  Alabama doesn’t have that in August.  The quicker it finds one in September or October, the better its title chances will become.

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SEC Headlines – 8/8/11 Part Two

1.  Barrett Jones continued to work in Alabama’s open left tackle slot during yesterday’s practice.

2.  Meet Dont’a Hightower, starting quarterback… of Bama’s defense.

3.  Blake Sims could take snaps at quarterback and running back for the Tide this fall. 

4.  Wide receiver DeAngelo Benton seems finally ready to contribute at Auburn.

5.  Freshman walk-on safety Trent Fisher — son of former NFL coach Jeff Fisher — is drawing praise on The Plains.

6.  This writer feels the NCAA needs to do some simplifying.

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Bama’s Sims To Stay At QB

While AJ McCarron and Philip Sims duke it out for the starting quarterback job in Tuscaloosa, another Sims is hidden in the shadows.

Redshirt freshman Blake Sims — who went 1-for-5 passing in Alabama’s spring game and figures to run the Wildcat formation this fall — will stay at quarterback and not switch positions.

“I think he’s kind of the third quarterback right now and actually threw the ball better and played the position better and grasped the position better than what we anticipated, and does have some physical attributes that separate him from the other guys,” Nick Saban said (in a long run-on sentence).  “There’s some things he might be able to do that we obviously didn’t do in the spring game, but may add some things to our offense.”

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