Alabama head coach Nick Saban isn’t happy with the persistent questions from the media regarding the team’s quarterback competition. Saban isn’t prepared to name a starting quarterback, and he may not do so before the Crimson Tide takes the field Aug. 30 against the West Virginia Mountaineers in Atlanta.
Senior Blake Sims (pictured above) and junior Jacob Coker have been battling throughout fall camp to lead the Crimson Tide onto the field, and neither of the signal callers have truly separated themselves from the other. Saban doesn’t plan to name a quarterback until one does.
“Until someone clearly wins the job, we’re not going to make a decision,” Saban said when he addressed the media Saturday.
Coker, a Florida State transfer, has generally been considered the favorite to win the competition. Coker may have lost to Jameis Winston in a quarterback competition last year, but there clearly is no shame in that after Winston went on to win the Heisman Trophy and a national championship. Coker is believed to have one of the strongest arms in college football and all the tools necessary to be a dynamic passer behind Alabama’s stout offensive line.
However, Sims isn’t willing to hand the job to Coker. The senior waited his turn behind A.J. McCarron, and he’s prepared to take over the offense as a senior. At the moment, Sims’ familiarity with the team’s system gives him a slight edge over Coker.
With neither quarterback clearly establishing himself at the top of the depth chart, another option will likely be considered. Saban may utilize a two-quarterback system to start the season and let live game action determining which of the two is truly prepared to lead the team into SEC play.
Alabama will have three weeks from the start of the season to figure out the solution before it plays the Florida Gators Sept. 20.
Baylor linebacker DeMarco Artis and wide receiver Rajah Preciado have left the team, according to a report from SicEm365. The site reports that the pair leave the program on good terms; both players are still on the online roster as well as the paper roster that was distributed at Big 12 media days on Monday.
Artis was a rising sophomore from Sanford, Fla. He appeared in six games as a true freshman in 2017, recording one tackle and one hurry.
Preciado was a junior from College Station, Texas. Appearing in 18 games over his freshman and sophomore seasons, Preciado did not record a catch but posted 14 career tackles and returned one kickoff for 10 yards.
Former Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, according to a Facebook post from his high school alma mater, Highland High School in Medina, Ohio. Kudla was 34.
Kudla signed with Ohio State in 2002 and immediately helped the Buckeyes to their first national championship since 1968. He would go on to become one of the top 15 sack artists in Ohio State history, a First Team All-Big Ten performer and Ohio State’s defensive MVP in 2005. He recorded 41 tackles, 11.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks.
Kudla worked in business after football and eventually returned to Ohio State in 2012 as managing director of development for the Fisher College of Business. At the time of his death, Kudla worked as the owner of Core Plex, which “built medical facilities all over the country.”
“Despite his success on and off the football field, Mike remained humble and was extremely generous with his time and resources,” Highland school district director of communications Dawn Marzano wrote in the Facebook post. “He was always willing to share his experience and mentor youth. He was loved and respected by many and will be missed terribly.”
It’s a standard procedure for a head coach to suggest there is an open competition for any number of positions on a football team, but nobody seems to be buying the idea there is a competition at Oklahoma to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. And when one of the players supposedly in the running for the job has a lucrative baseball career on the table, the idea is a little more comical.
Kyler Murray was drafted by the Oakland A’s with the No. 9 overall pick in the recent amateur MLB amateur draft. His contract with the A’s guarantees him $5 million and still allows for him to play one more year of football, which Murray has stated is his plan at Oklahoma. Still, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley addressed the quarterback situation at Big 12 media days on Monday and suggested Murray will have to win the job against redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall.
“Kyler’s not the quarterback yet,” Riley said when asked how the offense will change with Riley at the position following the departure of No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Mayfield to Cleveland. “There’s a really good competition going on and Kyler’s gonna have to fight like crazy to win this job.”
Sure. OK. Whatever you say, Riley.
It is worth noting Murray appeared in seven games for the Sooners last season with 18-of-21 for 359 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in backup duty for Mayfield. Kendall redshirted last season and was named one of the team’s Offensive Scout Team Players of the Year. Kendall did make appearances in two games in 2016 in a back-up role. While Kendall may have a bright future in Norman, few are willing to accept Oklahoma is welcoming back Murray to potentially be a back-up quarterback when he could jump right into his pro baseball career right now.
But this could just be nothing more than the latest example of a coach simply setting the tone for the offseason and holding the bar high for even the most talented of players on the roster. Riley may be blowing smoke, but it could also pay off in the long run of the 2018 season.
Tennessee defensive lineman Ryan Thaxton has been suspended by the football program after being arrested and charged for an alleged domestic assault of his girlfriend. The incident leading to the arrest and charge occurred over the weekend.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Thaxton was arrested Sunday night and charged with domestic assault and false imprisonment. According to police records, Thaxton is accused of pushing his girlfriend to his dorm room while she refused to follow him. It is reported Thaxton than carried the unidentified woman to his dorm room and blocked the door so she could not leave as an argument continued inside the room.
“We are aware of the incident,” a statement from Tennessee read. “The student-athlete has been suspended from all team activities while law enforcement and the university investigates.”
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is scheduled to address the media at SEC Media Days on Wednesday.