Question & Answer With Jacob Coker
Jacob Coker, a native of Mobile and graduate of St. Paul's Episcopal High School, where he followed A.J. McCarron as quarterback, is a special situation with this year's Alabama football signing class. Coker actually signed last month, when he finalized his decision to transfer from Florida State, where he signed in the Class of 2011. He is a Social Science major at FSU, where he must complete 19 credit hours to graduate. He expects to earn his degree in May and then join the Crimson Tide.
He has been granted his release by the Seminoles and because he will have graduated and have two years of eligibility remaining (he was redshirted one of his three years in Tallahassee), he will be able to participate beginning next fall.
This interview is in a question and answer format.
Why did you transfer to Alabama?
"At Florida State there is a heck of a quarterback we got in front of me that is younger than me named Jameis Winston. He has a great career ahead of him. The chances of me playing were pretty slim so in order for me to do what I wish to do I have to play. It is a tough decision because I have so much respect for those guys on the team and the program. It is something I have to do for myself."
Why did you select Alabama over other schools?
"Coming out of high school, Florida State and Alabama were my top two. I grew up a huge Alabama fan my whole life. When I went to Florida State, I did not regret that decision at all. I appreciate everything they helped me out with so much and appreciate everything they did for me. When you're not playing you have to make a decision and I had to get out of there. When I went on the visit to Alabama I was very impressed with the coaches and players. Everything about the visit was great. My parents really liked Coach (Nick) Saban. They liked Coach (Lane) Kiffin a lot. They liked Coach )Lance) Thompson, my main contact. It just felt like home. I felt like on top of all that other stuff as good as the visit was and as comfortable as I felt, I had to do it. I felt like it was one of those things where it's always been one of my dreams. I've just got to do it."
What coach escorted you on your Alabama visit?
"I was really with all the coaches. The main coaches I was with were Coach Saban, Coach (Tyler) Siskey (assistant director of football operations), Coach Thompson, and Coach Kiffin. Coach Siskey was at St. Paul's Episcopal and left my sophomore year. He coached my older brother, Patrick. Through that we became very close with Coach Siskey. He and my parents, especially my mom, have become real good friends. They are real close. Coach Siskey helped my older brother get to the Air Force Academy (2006-10). We've always been very appreciative of that. So he was with us the whole time. We were with Coach Saban most of the time. My brother is now in Afghanistan flying A-10 jets for the Air Force. We're real proud of him."
Have you been in contact with AJ McCarron lately?
"No, not really. I haven't talked to him in a while honestly."
Did you ask AJ McCarron about transferring to Alabama?
"No. He's got a lot going on and I'd hate to get in his way too much."
What was your conversation with Lane Kiffin about the new offense?
"I don't think it is going to be a whole new offense or anything like that. The basic offense that Coach Saban runs is going to stay in place. Coach Kiffin is going to tweak it in a few ways he thinks will be most effective. The foundation of the offense is going to stay in place. Whatever he is going to do, it's going to be what it takes to win. It's going to be good no matter what."
What will be different in your preparation and approach at Alabama after having competed at Florida State?
"Compared to me coming in as a freshman at Florida State and me coming in now, my knowledge of football obviously is much greater than it was. I have the focus now because I'll be able to block out all that other stuff. I've been to college and I'm past all that. I have one goal and that is to play football. I want to make sure I leave everything I've got out on that field. I just want to play as well as I can."
On your recruiting visit to Tuscaloosa did Nick Saban or Lane Kiffin make any promises to you about transferring to Alabama and the opportunity to play quarterback?
"They just showed me the school and everything that would be essential for me to be the best student, best player that I could possibly be. They discussed with me what it's going to take for me to play. It's not going to be easy for me at Alabama. They have three quarterbacks. There will be some good competition. We'll work hard and make things as good as we can."
Do you have an Alabama playbook?
"No, the coaching staff told me that in a few weeks the offensive playbook will be more finalized. They will have the language down and all the little changes Coach Kiffin's going to make will be finalized and then they will be able to hand it out to me. They do not want me studying the wrong stuff."
What did you learn about yourself through the process of transferring to another school?
"I definitely approached this situation much different than I did the first time. I have been much more attentive to what was going on. I knew what to look for so I don't know how much has changed about me other than maturing. I feel like I know so much more about what is best for me, what direction I need to go in. I'm just excited about going to Alabama."
What is your height and weight?
"On my visit to Alabama they measured me at 6-5, 230 pounds."
What should the people of Alabama know about your personality and leadership skills?
"I'm not the most talkative guy. They'll find out when I get there I guess."
What is the self-scouting report on Jacob Coker?
"I'm just interested in going there and playing hard. I'll let somebody else announce how good I am. I'm not into that."
What are some of the things you will try to improve upon in the coming months?
"You can never watch enough film. You can never get too comfortable with offensive schemes, strengths, and weaknesses of defenses. You can't get too good at those things. You can always get better. Improving on all mental aspects of the game is the most important thing. On top of that I just need to get my technique back, strengthen this knee as much as possible. I'd like to be bigger, stronger and faster than I've ever been and get my footwork back to where it was and even beyond that. Really, I can get better at every aspect of the game and that's what I plan on doing."
What was your speed in the 40-yard dash the last time you were tested?
"I haven't been tested in a long time but I've been timed at 4.7 before. I'm not sure what it would be if I was timed right now."
When is the first time you ever met Nick Saban in person?
"When I was getting recruited to Alabama the first time I did not visit. I spoke to him on the telephone. I was totally committed to Florida State and told them I was going to keep my word, so that's what I did. They called and I talked to them but I never took that visit. First time I met him in person was I guess about a month ago."
What was your impression of him after you both had a chance to eyeball each other?
"He's got more personality than I thought he would have. You see him on TV and you would never know if he ever smiles, but he was fun having him around and being at the house to meet my parents. My parents really like him a lot, feel comfortable with him. On our visit he made us feel right at home and was very good to my family. We're appreciative and look forward to being at Alabama."
What is your impression of Lane Kiffin?
"He's real laid back and pretty funny. He's very knowledgeable and I look forward to working with him, that's for sure."
What did your Alabama host say about playing for the Crimson Tide?
"My host was Brian Vogler. I spent a lot of time with him. He's a great guy and I had a great time with him on my visit. What he had to say about Alabama and playing football there was very exciting to me. You're always working. If you're working out, practicing, no matter what, you have a focus when you're there and you have a duty you're supposed to perform in the games. It's worth it because how well Alabama football is managed. It's a real good organization. You work hard but you get what you put in."
What school holds the allegiance of your family members?
My Dad is a big Alabama fan. My Mom doesn't really care for either one (Alabama or Auburn). When they played against each other when I was younger she pulled for Auburn. She wasn't one of those fans that got crazy over it. Whenever Alabama was playing anybody else like Ole Miss or Tennessee or anybody like that she pulled for Alabama but wouldn't cheer for them. She pulled for in-state teams. My older brother was an Auburn fan. My Mom's side of the family is all Auburn fans. One of my aunts, all her kids went to Auburn. You can't imagine the texts I got from them – funny stuff. They are all Auburn fans but they said they finally have to pull for Alabama the next few years."
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