"The only thing we can say with some degree of certainty is that the plan for the 2014 Alabama offense is to go forward with someone besides Blake Sims at quarterback."
In retrospect, there never really was a quarterback controversy.
I should back up. Alabama certainly held a QB competition in fall camp - between the presumed (by many people, including the guy writing this) favorite Jake Coker, and the incumbent starter, Blake Sims. Like the great mass, I just assumed the gig was Coker's to lose - why go through the trouble of asking him to transfer, if not to give him the job? Sims as starting quarterback seemed like some sort of last resort, something that would only happen if every other option had exhausted itself (my own wife referred to the poor kid as "a beard").
So yeah. I was wrong. We were all wrong. And that's OK.
It's been stated here in dozens of different places, but whatever competition took place between Sims and Coker was long over by the time the team took the field vs. West Virginia (no matter how many times the networks staffing Alabama games tried to force a QB controversy on us). Aside from one series in the Florida game when he left with an injured shoulder, Sims has taken every meaningful snap in every game thus far this season.
The numbers bear that out - through four games, Sims is completing better than 73 percent of his passes, and averaging 273 yards per game, with 8 touchdowns against two interceptions. For those keeping track, that efficiency rating is over 190.
And Lord, that Florida game*. 23-of-33, 445 yards, four touchdowns, one pick - and here we should note that pick was due to bad luck as much as anything else - to go with 8 carries for 53 yards. It was virtually perfect.
* I feel compelled to note at this point that it wasn't until I watched the replay of the game on my DVR that I realized Gary Danielson had the audacity to compare Sims to Andrew Zow, a completely different type of quarterback who graduated from Alabama in 2001, as part of his pregame analysis. I'll let you guess what resemblance Gary probably sees the most. Here's a hint: It ain't their jersey number.
As much credit should belong, it's worth noting, to Lane Kiffin, who has crafted outstanding game plans that have played to Sims' strengths, and to the plethora of weapons at his disposal (namely Amari Cooper and the three-headed monster at tailback). But other, better contributors for this site have plans to give proper credit where it is due at some point during the week.
Instead, it is important to temper our collective optimism - however momentarily - for two important reasons.
The first is the burgeoning minefield that is the SEC West. Once the bye week passes, our beloved offense is facing trips to Oxford, to Fayetteville, and to Knoxville, with a visit from Texas A&M as an added bonus. In November, there's still LSU, Mississippi State and ... well, you know already.
The second potential damper is the one we saw in that third quarter on Saturday. Sims, who is shorter and more fleet of foot than his predecessor, will be inclined to leave the pocket and make more plays on the run. Meaning? His health will be in danger; SEC defenses will eventually catch and hurt a quarterback who makes too much use of his legs.
The good news? The situation behind Sims looks promising, as well.
Whatever. It's the bye, and the Tide is 4-0. We can start worrying again on Sunday.