Nick Saban spoke to the media Tuesday evening before his appearance at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center, and addressed the departure of Crimson Tide quarterback Phillip Sims, as well as how that hole in the depth chart might be filled.
Saban is touring the southeast as a guest speaker at the events, and was asked by media members about Sims’ transfer to Virginia, and how he plans to adjust to the loss of the only other Tide quarterback with significant game experience.
“Phillip Sims did a wonderful job for us,” Saban said. “He’s a fine young man, he did a great job in our program. We hate to see him go but at the same time, I really understand. There’s a lot of personal things, illnesses in his family. He needs to be supportive of his family and he needed to be closer to home. We’re going to be very supportive of his future and I hope he does extremely well.”
Saban continued to speak on the players behind starter AJ McCarron, and the need for those players to develop. Phillip Ely is the likely backup, but as a freshman last year he did not take a snap under center last season. Incoming freshman Alec Morris does not arrive on campus until June.
“There’s no question about the fact that we don’t have a backup quarterback now that has any significant experience,” Saban said. “We need for some young players to really develop and grow and maybe get some opportunity to play early on.”
Another option might just be running back Blake Sims. The redshirt sophomore likely will not see significant carries this season due to the depth at running back, and it’s possible he could be asked to run the offense in certain situations.
“Last year, we actually had a plan for Blake Sims to play quarterback,” Saban said. “He played quarterback in high school and was a different style of quarterback than what we have. We also have the flexibility on offense to maybe utilize him at that position as well.”
There’s little doubt the need to find a reliable backup for McCarron will be a focus during fall practice, and that Saban and Co. are already weighing their options.