ATHENS — Nick Saban knew it.
He said last week that Alabama quarterback Jake Coker was capable “of making all the plays.” It was just a matter of him remaining calm and focused.
That wasn’t a problem against Georgia.
The former backup to Jameis Winston at Florida State and Blake Sims at Alabama played his most efficient game as a starter in Saturday’s 38-10 victory.
Coker was 11-of-16 for 190 yards and a touchdown and faced little pressure as he picked apart Georgia’s secondary.
He even stole some thunder from Alabama’s vaunted running game by scoring on a 2-yard bootleg in the third quarter that increased the lead to 38-3. Coker was the Crimson Tide’s second-leading rusher with 28 yards on six carries.
“It was a really good win,” he said. “We came in feeling confident with the game plan that we had put together, but we are really excited about the win. It was unbelievable, and we had a lot of fun out there.”
Coker had been shaky through Alabama’s first four games, with four interceptions, but was unflappable in the rain against Georgia.
He wasn’t picked off for the first time since the opening victory over Wisconsin and had no problem finding Calvin Ridley four times for 115 yards in the first half.
Coker 50-yard touchdown strike to Ridley gave the Crimson Tide a 24-3 halftime lead.
He seems to have solidified his hold on the position.
“Jake did a great job. He managed the game well and got us into the right plays,” Saban said. “He changed the protection a couple of times and made a couple of really good throws. Jake played with a lot more confidence. I think he’s getting better every week.”
Coker started the first two games, but Cooper Bateman played in both and then supplanted Coker as the starter in the 43-37 loss to Ole Miss on Sept. 19.
Even though Bateman was 11-of-14 for 87 yards, Coker took over in that game and almost led the Crimson Tide to a comeback victory by completing 21-of-44 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
But he also threw two interceptions, to go with one from Bateman.
Coker completed only 54.7 percent of his attempts with an interception in Alabama’s 34-0 victory over Louisiana-Monroe last week , but remained in Saban’s confidence.
That paid off against Georgia.