A.J. McCarron has proven he is Alabama’s quarterback after one game. Phillip Sims is going to be great one day, but as of September 4, 2011, A.J. McCarron has it.
A question I asked myself over and over yesterday was, “Could Sims have done what McCarron did if he had the opportunity to start the game and set the tone?” For now, we don’t know. What we do know is Sims looked a step slow. He looked – hold on tight to your ‘Bama shaker for this one – like a freshman.
We all know that Sims is only a semester behind McCarron as far as time spent with the team, but he’s a full season behind when it comes to smelling the grass while the game clock is running. Sims isn’t bad. He’s just not the better quarterback. Yet.
Some may say that it’s not fair to conclude that McCarron’s play was that good because it was against Kent State. I disagree. The concern is not that McCarron did well against the sub-championship-caliber Golden Flashes. The bigger concern is Sims failed to handle the speed of the game - versus the GOLDEN FLASHES.
Nick Saban gave the nation an indicator of who will be the guy going to Happy Valley. Each quarterback was to be given three series each until someone separated from the pack. McCarron didn’t so much take a step ahead of Sims. He stood in the same place he began the day while Sims took a step – if not two – back.
Izzy Gould quoted Saban at the head coach’s weekly radio show – every Thursday – detailing the quarterback rotation.
“Basically, we’re gonna play a guy for three series and the next guy will play for three series and then we’ll do it all over again,” Saban said Thursday night. “…I know everyone has the idea you have to play with one quarterback, that’s the only way you can play. We had two guys that have both done a really good job. Not one has separated them self from the other. How they play in the game may go a long way to saying which one of these guys is better.”
After months of speculation, Saban gave the blueprint for the season in determining who the better signal caller will be. It’s great for Saban’s sake because he set himself up to play two quarterbacks the first three weeks prior to the Arkansas game on September 24. He also left himself an out in the event that one quarterback proved they deserved to get every snap until they proved otherwise at a later date. Lucky for Saban, Sims just took a ton of pressure off of everyone involved.
Sims suffers now, but he’s one tweaked knee from being called on to lead Alabama’s offense. Talk of transferring, moping on the sideline, and splitting the locker room is not expected from Sims. If he does take this route, Saban would more than likely assist Sims in filling out and filing a scholarship release form. However, after seeing Sims handle himself on camera and based on quotes from stories following his battle with McCarron, Sims seems to say all the right things. He seems mature beyond his years.
If Sims’ quotes are indeed sincere, – and I see no reason why they wouldn’t be - then he can use the example of Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram of 2009 and 2010. Richardson more than likely won’t break career rushing yardage records due to the backup status he carried his first two season’s on campus. Richardson, however, will be considered the top running back coming on next year’s NFL draft board. Sims doesn’t have to show that he can play four years at Alabama to be an NFL quarterback.
While McCarron is leading the Tide on a hopeful march to the land of Saints in New Orleans, Sims only needs to do what every player that buys into the Saban Process does – get better everyday and be prepared for future opportunities.
He can always call a backup quarterback in New York and ask him how things worked for him. Greg McElroy sat on the sideline through one Mike Shula season and Nick Saban’s first two years in Tuscaloosa before he was finally given a shot in 2009. Once he was given an opportunity, he did okay with it.
When Sims asks if the wait was worth it, I’m sure McElroy would be happy to answer by clicking his BCS Championship ring and career 23-3 record against the phone.