April 13, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jacob Coker (14) is pressured during the first half of the spring game at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

14 Till 2014: Why Jacob Coker Should Start This Year

14 Till 2014 is going to be a series of articles counting the days until Alabama kickoff. Today we’re exactly 14 days away from kick off and we can finally watch real football instead of scrambling for every little 30-second practice video and analyzing Nick Saban’s every word, despite knowing he’s not going to give us that much information.

So for today, it would be wrong if I didn’t start the countdown talking about No. 14 himself, Jacob Coker.

I’m sure this will probably be the millionth Coker article you’ve read, and rightfully so, but one more shouldn’t kill you. In case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a QB battle brewing in Tuscaloosa. Coker is expected to be the starting QB for Alabama when the Tide hit the field in Atlanta against West Virginia.

Blake Sims – you know, the other guy fighting for the job – is a tremendous athlete and has made strides at the QB position this off season. So it’s not going to be much of a surprise when we see Sims have his own package despite a large percentage of the snaps going to Coker. Both should see the field quite a few times when the West Virginia game rolls around.

What should we expect out of Coker? This isn’t going to be the popular answer, and I’m about to use one of the more dreaded terms in football.

All Alabama really needs is for him to be a good ‘game manager.’

That means, don’t commit too many turnovers, be a leader in the huddle and give the explosive weapons that Alabama is stacked with a chance to succeed.

When Coker announced he was transferring to Alabama, the hype train around the guy was at full capacity. Reports had him almost beating out reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said that Coker was the most talented quarterback Nick Saban has had during his time at Alabama.

What we really need to see from Coker is progress, which is why he should be the starter. Having Coker on the field isn’t just to help Alabama win this year, but next year as well. Getting Coker a full year under his belt before the 2015 season is a must. I doubt Saban wants to go back-to-back years with a new signal caller with little game time experience.

If Coker can touch the first-year numbers of AJ McCarron, arguably the best QB in Alabama history (we’ll save this debate for another day), then Coker’s first year should be considered a success. Around 2,600 passing yards and about 20 touchdowns is pretty impressive for a first-year starter, and if he can keep that completion percentage in the 60 range then he’s doing a good job of giving our explosive weapons the opportunities.

McCarron was able to make a name for himself being the former ‘game manager,’ and if Coker is as talented as everyone believes, maybe Alabama can make some noise when we flip our calendar to the new year.

It’s not just about what Coker can do for Alabama this year, but also knowing what kind of player he can be the next year.

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