The Alabama Crimson Tide will begin preparations later this week for opening foe West Virginia, whether they know who the starting quarterback is or not.
Fifth-year senior Blake Sims and Florida State transfer Jake Coker continue to vie for the right to succeed AJ McCarron as the leader of the offense. Coach Nck Saban has not revealed any quarterback statistics this month but said after Tuesday's practice that he is pleased with the progress at that position.
"Somebody has got to take the job," Saban said in a news conference. "One day one guy plays really well, and you say, 'Well, it looks like that might be it.' Then the next day, the other guy plays really well. The good news is that we have two guys who I would feel comfortable playing."
Alabama held a two-hour workout in full pads Tuesday, its first practice since Saturday's second scrimmage.
The competition between Sims and Coker has helped develop several players, according to Saban, who added that redshirt sophomore quarterback Alec Morris has shown a lot of improvement as well. Morris, a 6-foot-3, 230-pounder from Allen, Texas, made his lone appearance for the Crimson Tide last November against UTC but did not attempt any passes.
"We're kind of encouraged by what all three of those guys have done," Saban said, "but I would like to see somebody take the bull by the horns from a leadership standpoint and a consistency standpoint and win the job here, but we're not going to make a decision until somebody does that."
Further down the quarterback depth chart are redshirt freshman Cooper Bateman and early enrollee David Cornwell.
Sims, a 6-foot, 208-pounder from Gainesville, Ga., was the first-team quarterback coming out of spring, but the speculation was that he would lose the job to Coker, who last season backed up Jameis Winston for the Seminoles before getting hurt. Sims played in eight games last season, completing 18 of 29 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
Saban credited Sims for having an even better understanding of the offense and for improving as a passer.
"He doesn't go rat trap and start running around," Saban said. "He has enough confidence to throw the ball on time and to the right place."
Senior inside linebacker Trey DePriest has practiced the last several days following a knee injury, but Saban said he will need to improve his conditioning against up-tempo teams like West Virginia. ... Saban said freshman JK Scott is the clear-cut punter. ... Junior receiver Amari Cooper, who bruised his knee Saturday, practiced Tuesday. ... Saban said that the Crimson Tide have spent some time working on their first four opponents, with Florida being the fourth.
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