Blake Sims' first start gave Alabama fans most of what it could hope for: A start two or three bad throws away from being spectacular. He also threw from the pocket more than was expected even among those with strong practice access. Credit Lane Kiffin for giving Sims a chance to pass that test. Sims established himself as passer like never before in game action Saturday. At the same time, look for Jacob Coker to see significant second-half action against Florida Atlantic, if Alabama's lead permits. You can bet when one becomes Nick Saban's season-long guy, Saban -- hater of quarterback controversies -- will let it be known in short order.
Jarrick Williams' injury (fractured foot, out four weeks) affects Alabama's options for both its nickel and dime packages, of course, and Geno Smith is the likely bet to take on most of Williams' playing time. Smith will give Alabama a little more athleticism in coverage than Williams, but Williams has been an underappreciated run defender. Smith might not be as effective in that regard. ... One source suggests Eddie Jackson could be reintroduced to the lineup first as a special teams player as a potentially wise means of transitioning him back into a defensive role. ... Kirby Smart's commitment to getting a more athletic defense on passing downs was never more evident than Jonathan Allen getting a bit of action at a nose position in the 33-23 win over West Virginia. Allen (6-3, 270) is athletic enough to play on the edge on passing downs, too. ... Nick Saban doesn't often enter a season with an unsettled first-team offensive line, but the right guard position appeared Saturday to be in as much flux as ever. Alphonse Taylor and Leon Brown will probably split time again Saturday. And don't discount the eventual possibility of tackle Dominick Jackson re-entering the guard mix.