Saban: Ely, Sims competing for backup QB role

On the SEC Coaches Teleconference this morning, Alabama head coach Nick Saban discussed the competition at backup quarterback, why he kept AJ McCarron in the Western Kentucky game until late in the fourth quarter and what he's expecting out of Arkansas this weekend.

Alabama was up on Western Kentucky 28-0 late in the fourth quarter when Blake Sims entered the game for A.J. McCarron.

In the Michigan game the week before, Phillip Ely, who is listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the Tide's depth chart, took the field, so it was a bit of a surprise to see Sims jump Ely against WKU.

But on the SEC Coaches Teleconference this morning, coach Nick Saban said that there is an ongoing competition in the backup quarterback spot.

"Blake has been making a lot of progress and doing a good job," he said. "We're continuing to try to develop both guys and see which can help us best."

Sims entered the game with about four minutes left. He completed one pass for six yards and had a hand off to freshman running back Kenyan Drake, who ran for a 32-yard touchdown to make the final score 35-0.

It seemed a curious decision to leave McCarron in the game in the fourth quarter with such a wide lead, but Saban defended his decision.

"We were ahead 28-0 and not really playing well on offense, so I think that's the reason," he said. "We were just trying to put a drive together and get some continuity."

Other notes from Saban's weekly conference call:

-AJ McCarron has six touchdowns and no interceptions through two games this season, yet he says he's been unhappy with his performance because he is a perfectionist. Is he too hard on himself?

"AJ is probably somewhat of a perfectionist, but most good players are because they're never really satisfied with their performance. They know they haven't really arrived and there's always something they can do better," Saban said. "I think in our case, AJ is probably pointing to the fact that there are things we need to improve on in every aspect of our team."

-In its 34-31 overtime win over Arkansas last week, Louisiana-Monroe racked up a total of 550 yards of offense, so what does Saban think about the Razorbacks' defense?

"A lot of things happened last week to contribute to the way things went for them," he said. "We have a lot of respect for their defense, for their scheme and for their players, and we know we're going to get a very physical team."

-If Tyler Wilson can't go, backup Brandon Allen will probably get the starting job, as he was the one who came in against ULM last week. So what does Saban expect from the Razorbacks' backup?

"We really don't know what to expect," he said. "I think Brandon Allen, for a guy that hasn't played a lot, did a pretty good job in the game and will get better with another week's preparation...There are a few unknowns for us. We'll just have to adjust and adapt to whatever it is we are facing."

-Saban was asked about Arkansas running back Knile Davis.

"We think he's a really good player and has had some really good runs and I think he's very capable of having great runs," he said. "We respect him and their ability to run the ball wit him. We also respect the other two runners they have. We feel like they have really good running backs."

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