Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher knows Nick Saban well, having served as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at LSU from 2000-2004.
Fisher also knows Jacob Coker well, having recruited the now-former Seminole out of high school and coached him the past three seasons in Tallahassee.
Now that Coker has arrived in Tuscaloosa and is probably a decent bet to win the starting job under center for Saban’s Crimson Tide,D.C. Reeves of TideSports.comreached out to Fisher for a comment.
His remarks were exceedingly flattering:
Including what they’ve had, he’s much more talented than anything they’ve had. I don’t mean to discredit the previous guys, they were all great. But this guy is extremely talented. Arm and mind. He’s a backup because he’s behind the best quarterback in America. (Coker) may have been one of the top three or four quarterbacks in America physically.
We could have been right there in the same position last year with him, I really believe that. You just had to make a choice. If he had played, got his reps and got in that role, we would have done extremely well. I’m a Jacob Coker fan.
Comments like this are colored, obviously, by bias, as Fisher knows Coker well and ostensibly likes him and wants him to succeed. His words must be viewed with these factors in mind.
However, it is hard not to see the physical potential Coker possesses. He is 6’5″, 240 pounds with a strong arm and decent mobility for a player his size. Because he has yet to take a meaningful snap in a college game, it is hard to speak with confidence about his effective accuracy, leadership skills and decision-making.
But in a vacuum, those proportions are Andrew Luck-esque.
“I’ve never had anybody with his size who throws it as well as [Coker] does,” said Florida State quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders said, per Bruce Feldman (then withCBS Sports). “Rarely does [the ball] not spiral or not go where he wants it to go.”
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston stands 6’4″.
Still, many folks might take issue with Fisher’s comments, which tacitly insulted Saban’s previous Alabama quarterbacks.
Whether they were intended this way is up for debate, but to call someone who’s yet to take a meaningful snap more talented than AJ McCarron and Greg McElroy—who combined to win three national championships as starters—is a bit of a reach. And even J.P. Wilson is questionable.
Or at least it will be viewed that way in Tuscaloosa.
Coker‘s ceiling is higher than that of McCarron or McElroy, which I think is what Fisher was trying to say. He referred to Coker as being “more talented” than any other QB Saban has coached, not necessarily “the best.”
We’ll see if that potential can translate.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT.
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