Sims’ H.S. Coach Changes His Tune

First, Phillip Sim’s former high school coach though this:

“If it’s a close competition between an in-state guy and an out-of-state guy, the in-state guy is getting the job,” Morgan told the paper. “Phillip was in a situation where I thought he was the better quarterback, but he was the out-of-state guy. That’s just the way it works in college.”

“McCarron still has two years of eligibility,” Morgan told the Pilot. “If it was the case where he was a senior and Phillip had to sit one more year and then have two years, he wouldn’t leave. Let’s face it; they did win the national championship. So you’re not going to bench the quarterback who won the national title. And (Sims) doesn’t want to sit because he feels he’s just as good. So he has to go somewhere where he can play.”

Upon further reflection, now he thinks this:

“Phillip was happy (at Alabama), but family issues had arisen that made it better for him to come home,” Oscar Smith coach Richard Morgan said.

The new thoughts could be the result of this:

Sims has to sit out a year due to transfer rules, but will petition the NCAA to waive the waiting period, saying he is transferring to be closer to home because of a family situation.

It should be interesting to see how the NCAA handles this, given Sims’ high-profile and all of the public speculation and comments.  But related to a waivers being granted due to family problems, I don’t really get it.  If you have a personal situation that you want to be close to, does it make sense to be eligible to play?  Wouldn’t you want the freedom to take care of or help with personal matters?  And wouldn’t playing in football games (and the related travel, etc.), take you away from the personal matters when you should be there helping?
In Sims’ case, if he was to become the starting quarterback for Virginia, wouldn’t preparing for the games, practicing and being a student be the equivalent of a full-time job or more?  It just makes me wonder where all of the free time will be so that personal matters can be attended to.
On the other hand, perhaps taking care of personal matters is best done by playing as soon as you can with hopes on jumping to the NFL as soon as possible.

More Sims Stuff

Phillip Sims’ transfer stays in the news another day:

In an interview with the Virginian-Pilot shortly after Sims’ transfer decision was confirmed, the player’s former head coach at Oscar Smith High School, Richard Morgan, claimed there was one reason and one reason only why McCarron received the nod over Sims.

“If it’s a close competition between an in-state guy and an out-of-state guy, the in-state guy is getting the job,” he said. “Phillip was in a situation where I thought he was the better quarterback, but he was the out-of-state guy. That’s just the way it works in college.

Hey, I’ve got no problem with a guy that gets passed over thinking he’s the better player.  And I’ve got no problem with a high school coaching trying to take up for one of his former players.  That seems natural.  But this coach’s reasoning just doesn’t fly.

The bottom line is AJ McCarron had a one year head start on Sims and managed to hold him off long enough to finally win the job.  Once he got the job, he did nothing to lose it.  Thems the breaks.

I wish Sims had stuck around, and I understand his reasoning for leaving.  His coach’s?  Not so much.

Nothing Personal

As you’ve probably heard by now, Phillip Sims has decided to transfer out of the Alabama football program and it sounds like he’s about to land a little closer to home.

Sims has already used a redshirt year at Alabama during the 2010 season.  Last year, he played sparingly.  That gives him three more seasons to play at Alabama (had he stayed).  If he transfers to a FCS division school or lower, he could play right away.  If he transfers to a FBS school, he’ll most likely sit another year and that gives him the possibility of playing two full seasons of college ball.  I say most likely, because of this:

Sims, a highly-touted four-star member of the Tide’s 2010 recruiting class and a Virginia native, could apply for a NCAA waiver that would allow him to compete for UVA right away. Otherwise, he’ll have to sit out a year to fulfill transfer rules.

Because of that, this makes a little more sense:

In a statement issued by Alabama on Friday, Sims, of Chesapeake, Va., said he needed to be closer to home to support his family. He could attempt to be eligible to play immediately through an NCAA appeal citing family circumstances.

Maybe he has personal problems to handle and maybe he doesn’t.  That’s not really my business.  But as someone said earlier in this process, had AJ McCarron had the same personal problems, he most likely wouldn’t be transferring.

Best of luck to Sims.  No matter where he winds up, he’ll always be considered one of Bama’s.

Thoughts on the QB Situation Before Penn State

The Alabama Crimson Tide will roll into State College, Pa. this weekend to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State.  Each team will enter the game with their own quarterback “controversy.”

The Lions have sophomore Rob Bolden and junior Matt McGloin battling for the top job, while the Tide has freshman Phillip Sims and sophomore AJ Mcarron battling.  Odds are that both teams will play two quarterbacks on Saturday.

Coach Nick Saban has gone to great lengths this week to ensure that the QB race at Alabama is not over, despite McCarron appearing to outplay Sims against Kent State:

“We’re gonna continue to develop both of the quarterbacks that we have,” Saban said. “… Later in the week, as we see how the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game or if there’s some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us. We’ll look at the option of doing that.”

I believe the QB battle will be on-going through most of the season, as Saban’s comment above indicates.

But I’m not so sure that we’ll see the same QB rotation that we saw against Kent State.  It may be that the battle rages during practice, and that two quarterbacks do play in most games, but the allocation of playing time is decided based upon performance at practice.

I think the statement above gives Saban some wiggle room to do that:

Later in the week, as we see how the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game or if there’s some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us.

It was pretty plain to see in the Kent State game that the Tide’s offensive momentum stalled once Sims entered the game.  I don’t think Saban will do that against Penn State.  I think it’s more likely that the starting quarterback will play as long as he has a hot hand, with a minimum of about three series, and then the other would play.

Sims and McCarron are young players and could possibly battle for the top job for three seasons.  I think coach Saban understands that he’s dealing with a tricky situation and I think he’s handling it in a way that will spur competition while keeping the second-teamer involved and encouraged.

Question #1 – How Does our new QB Perform?

Anytime you replace one of your all-time leading passers you have a major question mark heading into the next season. Double that for a guy that led his team to a career 24-3 record, including a 14-0 record and BCS championship in 2009.  That’s the case for Alabama heading into 2011.

Greg McElroy was never accused of being the most athletic quarterback in the league, but history will record him as one of the top quarterbacks ever to wear the crimson and white.  I say that not as a huge McElroy fan, but the statistics speak for themselves.  Let this sink in for a minute:

* A 24-3 record as a starter – an incredible .880 winning percentage (third best in Bama history).

* The Alabama record holder for passing yards in a season (2,987) and fourth best in career passing yards (5,691).>

* Second all-time with 40 career touchdown passes and owns the single season mark of 20 (2010).

* Only 10 career interceptions our of 658 career passing attempts.

* A career pass completion percentage of 66.3%.  Of course that means he holds the single season mark of 70.9% (2010) and would have set the season record in 2009 save for a bunch of dropped passes.

Not bad for a guy labeled as a “game manager.”

As I said above, history will be kind to McElroy.  These results will look sweeter and sweeter as time passes.

But despite the statistics, there was a bit of McElroy fatigue as his career wound to a close.  Whatever the reason for that fatigue, Tide fans have soothed themselves with the reminder that higher rated, more athletic quarterbacks were on the roster and ready for their shot in 2011.

From SI.com

So this year we turn our attention to redshirt sophomore AJ McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Sims.  Yes, they are highly touted and, yes, they are better athletes, but they are also highly inexperienced.  And they are locked in a heated battle for the starting nod. If the battle is really as contested as has been reported, the battle may not be settled until well into the season. Any slip by the named starter in the first couple of games means the backup may be given a chance.

The question really isn’t “who will be the quarterback?” – it will be McCarron or Sims. The real question is “how will our young quarterback play?”

So how will our new quarterback play?  I think whoever it is will play well enough for us to have a chance.  He’ll have the benefit of a solid offensive line that returns four starters, including All-American candidate Barrett Jones, and he’ll have the luxury of turning to hand the ball to Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy.  He’ll also have the benefit of a rock solid Saban defense, that returns 10 starters, to bail him out of most of the trouble he creates.  While we’ve grown somewhat tired of the “game manager” label assigned to our last couple of quarterbacks, the reality is we only need a game manager this year.  I expect that Richardson, Lacy and Jalston Folwer will pound the rock hard during September and October, giving some time for the QB battle to cool and for a regular starter to emerge and settle into the position.  Hopefully, this will provide a good, solid footing for our QB to play well in November.

Last year, McElroy threw for an Alabama season record of 2,987 yards and an Alabama record 20 touchdown passes – all while only tossing five interceptions.  This year, I expect the combined McCarron/Sims numbers to be good, but not near the all-time marks set by McElroy.  I would expect around 2,500 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.  I think if our running backs, namely Richardson, have the kind of year I expect, these QB numbers should be good enough.  If the numbers TD-to-inception ratio gets any closer, I think it could spell trouble, possibly even too much trouble for our defense.

From AL.com

On a side note, if either McCarron or Sims settles into the role as starter early on, they have the possibility of starting for a long, long time.  If they put up typical Saban QB numbers over that period, they would likely smash all of the Bama passing records and would have a chance to become Alabama’s first ever 10,000 yard passer.

BSR: Right Now it’s Sims

NXOJKT thinks it’s Sims:

My take? If the first game was being played tomorrow, Phillip Sims would be the starting quarterback. I know that I said differently on Friday. The battle hasn’t been won based on the performance of one scrimmage, but if the game were played tomorrow, I believe that Sims would get the start. McCarron has three weeks to flip that back.