Nick Saban backs Blake Sims as No. 2 QB

From the Anniston StarAugust 22, 2013 

TUSCALOOSA -- Heading into Alabama's preseason preseason, Alec Morris was expected to challenge Blake Sims to be AJ McCarron's backup.

But Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban has publicly backed Sims as the No. 2 quarterback, saying Sims gets 10 percent of the first team snaps while McCarron gets 90 percent.

So the question now becomes which quarterback is going to be the No. 3 guy?

"Well, you know, we kind of looked at Cooper Bateman some," Saban said Thursday. "We looked at Alex (Alec) Morris. We looked at Luke Del Rio. We haven't made any final determination as to who is the third or whether we want to continue to evaluate. … That's still a work in progress as to who the third guy's going to be. "

With little more than a week from Alabama's opener, Saban remains confident going with Sims if McCarron were to go down.

"I don't think any of them have really beaten Blake out," Saban said. "So he's the second. You know, Blake has actually improved quite a bit as a passer. He's got a much better grasp of the offense. Obviously, last year, you could see that he adds a different dimension as a runner, athletically, when he's in there."

Targeting rule

With new targeting rules introduced this offseason, the fear now becomes whether defensive players will target lower extremities to avoid helmet-to-helmet collisions.

Saftety Nick Perry is concerned with the pressure it puts on his position.

"Of all positions on the field that's going to affect the safeties more because of the receivers coming across the middle," Perry said. "It is something we have to practice and get better on. Just make sure you keep your form and everything will be all right."

But Saban noted that if a player is using the fundamentals of tackling, targeting a players knees or legs shouldn't be an issue.

"I think if you launch at somebody and taking shots - when I say launch I'm talking about launching like a missile and hitting about the shoulder pads - and it's an unprotected player, I think everybody agrees that's a dangerous play and it's not a good thing. But if you tackle properly that never happens. That really never happens."

Saban touched on the issue of concussions.

"The only sort of concern I have is when you do the due diligence on how guys get concussions, how many actually get them that way?" Saban said. "And how many get them some other way? And then is that really going to be a rule that is effective in player safety from that standpoint. I guess that would be question that I think everybody should ask and research. We document how guys get head injuries here. We don't have a lot, but the ones we've had, I'm not sure that rule would protect any because it doesn't happen that often. But if it does, it's a dangerous play and it should be a penalty."

Honoring Mal Moore

The Alabama football team plans to do something to honor longtime athletic director Mal Moore following his death early this year, Tide coach Nick Saban said. Moore hired Saban away from the Miami Dolphins in 2007.

"Yeah, we do have some plans to honor Mal Moore, which we will have something on the helmet," Saban said. "I'm sure that the athletic department will release that at the appropriate time and give you the details to all that. The answer to that is yes."

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