At this time last week, Jake Coker was under the microscope.
Alabama’s senior quarterback had been shaky against Louisiana-Monroe, and many wondered whether he would be up to the task of beating UGA in Athens.
But Coker broke out against UGA with a series of well-placed passes, capping off his excellent performance with a 45-yard touchdown to Calvin Ridley that put the Tide up, 24-3.
“Jake did a great job today,” coach Nick Saban said postgame. “He changed the protection a couple times. Changed field position a couple times. Played with confidence.”
Monday afternoon, Saban was not dishing out as much credit.
He pointed out that Coker’s strong games against the Bulldogs and Wisconsin were heavily dependent on one factor.
“We probably ran the ball a little more effectively in those games, which helped with the play-action passes, helped with third-down situations,” Saban said.
Translation: Coker has not proven he can win games by himself.
“There was a reason that the team played a certain way, that helped Jake play a certain way, that was very helpful to him being successful,” Saban said. “I think we need to continue to do that, but I also think we need to expand what we do, and be able to execute more things, so that we can be more effective in other situations of the game, as well.”
So, there are still questions about Coker.
The latest game was a great sign that he can make big plays under pressure. But the dice were a bit loaded, according to Saban.
What happens when they are not?
Jake Coker with a perfect throw to Calvin Ridley for a 45-yard Alabama TD. Bama leads 24-3 pic.twitter.com/BaXBTs0rQr
— Craig Sager II (@CraigSagerJr) October 3, 2015