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Did Jacob Coker Not Learn From Blake Sims The Secret to Starting for Alabama?

Photo by Cedric Mason/TDAL Magazine

Jacob Coker has learned a lot while at Alabama, but he may have missed the biggest lesson.

Did Jacob Coker Not Learn From Blake Sims The Secret to Starting for Alabama? 

By: Larry Burton

Last season, Jacob Coker entered spring ball with a higher upside and a higher throwing accuracy than Blake Sims. He was the heir apparent according to most everyone in the press including myself.

So what happened?

While Coker went into the summer season working on his fundamentals, Sims worked with his fellow teammates. Developing not only added rapport with them, but a sense of timing and instinct in knowing how they run their routes and how they like the ball delivered to them.

When fall came, it was clear the team was solidly behind Sims, who they not only knew better, but felt that he knew them best too and knew how to get the ball to them best. Of course Saban, Kiffin and staff had the final say in who would be the starter, but that decision was made painfully obvious to the coaches by which quarterback gelled with the team the best and got the most out of the offense.

So this season, did Jacob Coker file that away and learn from his mistakes?

Obviously not. While his chief rival for the job, David Cornwell was throwing with Alabama receivers, bonding daily with them, getting their timing and nuances down, sweating in the hot summer sun with them — Coker was down in Mobile working with a private quarterback coach to help him get rid of “things” that may not be right with his footwork, throwing motion, and timing.

Hey Jacob, you’re a senior, if you don’t have those things down by now that’s a huge problem. If you don’t think your time would have been better spent developing timing and confidence with your fellow offensive players, you didn’t learn much in losing the starting job last season. There just isn’t enough time in fall camp to overcome what you may have missed by not spending all that time with your receivers.

In case you haven’t been watching the news, Chris Black — one of the players expected to step up big this year with Alabama’s leading receiver from the last few years (Amari Cooper) gone — has been publicly extolling the great qualities of his quarterback David Cornwell. He’s been telling anyone who will listen how the two are on the same page and they are clicking like well seasoned partners.

I scour the interviews coming out of Tuscaloosa every day and I have yet to hear of other players saying what a good sense of timing they have with you. I have yet to hear players saying, “Yeah Jake’s my boy! What a ball he throws! We’re really on the same page.”

And therein could lie your biggest problem.

Let’s face it, you had a huge strike against you losing the job last year and bigger still is the fact that no coach really wants to start a new quarterback three years in a row which is what would happen if you win the starting job this year. So if it’s close and from what we’re all hearing, it is at this point, a coach would be inclined to go with a quarterback who they can develop and invest that playing time in. Why invest time in a quarterback that was not here for the long run like all the other quarterbacks on the roster? The only way you can win the starting job now is to be head and shoulders, gee whiz, oh my gosh better than Cornwell and that just doesn’t seem to be happening.

But we have fall camp to go and we’ll be interested to see if all that time spent with a private tutor quarterback coach will bring us those gee whiz moments and maybe by the end of fall camp it will appear that you are the only way to go. If not, maybe this time you’ll figure out where you went wrong.

Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at  https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter
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