Report: Blake Sims to start for Alabama, Jacob Coker to also play

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Nick Saban knows what you've been thinking when it comes to his quarterback battle, but he simply doesn't care.

According to CBSSports.com, Alabama will start redshirt senior Blake Sims at quarterback on Saturday for the team's opener against West Virginia in Atlanta.

A source told the site that Jacob Coker will be the backup, but is still expected to play in what is being termed an "open audition."

In that respect, the race to replace AJ McCarron still won't be over when Week 1 of the college football season wraps up.

The 6-foot, 208-pound Sims has been a reserve for the Crimson Tide for several seasons and has even contributed as a running back in 2011. He's seen action in 23 games, rushing for 355 yards while throwing for 244 yards on 23-of-39 passing.

Sims emerged as the front-runner to succeed McCarron after a quality set of spring practices, but the job is still his to lose.

Coker, listed at 6-5, 230 pounds, transferred to Alabama from Florida State after being the team's backup to Jameis Winston. His strong arm has earned praise from coaches but reportedly has struggled to pick up the offense since arriving prior to fall camp.

The use of two quarterbacks is nothing new for Saban, who employed a similar tactic when deciding between McCarron and Phillip Sims in 2011.

Luckily both signal-callers should have plenty of opportunities to impress Saban and new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin given that they'll have potential first-round pick Amari Cooper at wide receiver, and will be facing a defense that gave up 455 yards per game last season.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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