There’s an adage that “Practice makes perfect.” In truth, the principle should be “Perfect practice makes perfect.” It does no good to practice the wrong things, and good teams ordinarily have good coaches.
There are players at a handful of positions who get some of their practice from external coaches, notably placekickers, punters, and quarterbacks.
In the past, Alabama Coach Nick Saban has indicated that placekickers and punters get most of their technical instruction from their personal coaches, although when a flaw is spotted the coaches are quick to correct it. This season the Crimson Tide has had struggles from both placekicker Adam Griffith (who is only 3-7 on field goals) and punter JK Scott (who led the nation last year with a 48-yard average and who is averaging only 38.8 per punt this year).
On Wednesday, Saban was asked what he thought about quarterbacks having outside coaches. He said, “Most of these quarterback coaches are really working on basic fundamental mechanics of footwork and throwing the ball, and that type of thing. I don't really think they're trying to teach them an offense or how to read or what to do.
“So it's more mechanical in nature. I think for the most part, I've seen guys improve doing this and we've never had an issue with any conflict of a guy coming back and saying, 'My coach told me to do this and you're telling me to do that.' We've never seen or had that, so it's not been an issue for us.”
Although there has been no announcement, it appears senior Jacob Coker has established himself as Alabama’s starting quarterback.
Next up for Coker and the Tide is a pivotal Southeastern Conference game at Georgia in Athens on Saturday. Kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 central time) with CBS televising the game.
Both teams will have quarterbacks who transferred from ACC schools, Coker from Florida State and Georgia’s Grayson Lambert from Virginia.
In four games, Coker has completed 68 of 123 passes (78.6 per cent) for 786 yards and 8 touchdowns, but has suffered four interceptions. Lambert has completed 52-68 passes (76.5 per cent) for 733 yards and seven touchdowns, but has not been intercepted. He has been particularly accurate in his last two games, completing 24-25 for 333 yards and 3 TDs against South Carolina and 9-10 for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns in limited playing time last week against Southern.
An obvious key for the Tide is that Coker must play well, and, particularly, he must make good decisions and thereby few (if any) mistakes.
Saban said, “This obviously is a tremendous challenge for our team in terms of the preparation that we have for what is an outstanding team in Georgia, who has really been dominant on both sides of the ball and the kicking game all season long. The focus here has to be on technical execution and trying to do a better job to get our players to play with more consistency down in and down out.
“We'll have to play a really sound, fundamental game against a really sound, fundamental team.”