TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- In just his second year playing the position for Alabama, quarterback Blake Sims has drastically improved at the position in the eyes of his teammates and coaches.
Sims, a redshirt sophomore from Gainesville, Ga., came in during the second quarter of the Crimson Tide's victory over Georgia State to replace starter AJ McCarron.
"(Blake) did a good job," McCarron said. "Came in, took command of the offense the way he was supposed to, was efficient with the ball, proud of him."
Sims was an efficient 14 of 18 for 130 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
"Blake did a really good job in the game. Blake, there's a lot of other things that Blake can do to be effective because he's an athletic guy, he's a very good runner, he's capable of running on quarterback runs," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "We didn't really want to do that in this game. We wanted him to play quarterback in our offense, which I thought he did a very good job of."
Saban feels there is still room for Sims to improve.
"I would just say in his continued development, we had a couple of illegal procedure penalties, whether it's consistency in cadence, command, that type of stuff, consistency in performance," Saban said. "He has improved to a large degree as a passer, his judgment has improved as a passer and I think he has to continue to have confidence in his ability to pass and know that he doesn't have to make plays with his feet all the time, which I think this last game helped him in that regard."
Kentucky big underdog
Kentucky heads into Saturday's game versus the top-ranked Tide as a 27-point underdog. The Wildcats are 1-4, but have played three top 25 teams including a 35-28 nailbiter against South Carolina on this weekend.
"Another very tough task playing Alabama, extremely well coached team, very physical, and everything they are built up to be," Stoops told reporters during his Monday news conference. "They deserve all the credit they have been given for what they have done through the course of this year, and of course with their history. So it will be a real challenge but it should be a lot of fun for us as a staff and for our players to embrace such a challenge."
Saban doesn't want his players overlooking the Wildcats. He said Kentucky's win-loss record isn't a true indication of how hard they've played.
"We expect this to be a difficult game," Saban said. "I think that our players need to prepare for this team with a lot of respect. I think our players understand how difficult it is to play on the road in our game."
Alabama coach Nick Saban said outside linebacker Denzel Devall (knee) will be limited early on this week during practice, but should be able to play on Saturday at Kentucky. Devall sprained his left knee in the first quarter of the Crimson Tide's 45-3 victory over Georgia State on Saturday. Following the game, Saban said Devall could have played if necessary, but the team wanted to get other players some reps.
Xzavier Dickson stepped in for Devall on Saturday. Center Ryan Kelly (knee) will miss his second game.
Alabama-Arkansas game time
By now, Alabama fans, coaches and players should be used to playing evening games.
Including Saturday's game against Kentucky, the Crimson Tide will have its fifth evening game when Arkansas comes to town on Oct. 19. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
The game will air on ESPN or ESPN2.