Nick Saban is getting both of his quarterbacks plenty of action early in the season, as promised.
Sophomore Tua Tagovailoa started for Alabama in their game against Arkansas State on Saturday. He threw three touchdown passes in the team’s first four possessions, helping Bama go up 19-0.
For the Crimson Tide’s fifth possession, Tagovailoa was replaced at quarterback by Jalen Hurts. Hurts led a nice drive from Bama’s 16 to the Arkansas State 4 before he lost a fumble. On his next possession, he threw a touchdown pass to put Bama up 26-0.
Alabama has played two games so far and Hurts has seen action in both. Saban was careful throughout the offseason not to name a starter and to deflect questions about a quarterback controversy. He’s trying to give both playing time, which actually makes one wonder whether the red shirt report is accurate.
- Filed Under:
- College Football
- Jalen Hurts
Alabama and Jalen Hurts have an agreement for 2018 that seems to keep all parties’ best interests in mind, according to a report.
Aaron Suttles, who was an Alabama beat reporter for the Tuscaloosa News and now writes for The Athletic, said on his “3 Man Front” radio show on WJOX Friday that Hurts and Bama have an agreement for this season.
According to Suttles, Hurts would be expected to redshirt this season as long as Tua Tagovailoa is not injured.
— Pat Smith (@patsmithradio) September 7, 2018
There are new redshirt rules this season which allow a player to appear in four games and still take a redshirt year. According to this report, so long as Tagovailoa stays healthy, we should not expect to see Hurts in more than four games.
If Hurts were to redshirt this season, he’d be able to leave Alabama as a graduate transfer after the season and still have two seasons of eligibility left elsewhere. This reported agreement seems to serve the interests of both parties perfectly. Hurts is good enough and talented enough where he should be a starting quarterback for a major college program. Alabama should be playing Tagovailoa because he’s better than Hurts, but they also want to keep Hurts because they can contend for a national championship with him at QB if something happens to Tagovailoa.
The only question is whether this report is indeed accurate. Nick Saban has been extremely careful to emphasize the importance of both quarterbacks to the team, even getting angry with a reporter asking about the subject. He’s insisted that both quarterbacks will continue to play. He also said the redshirt rule will not affect how he uses Hurts.
Saban said the new redshirt rule won't factor into how he plays Jalen Hurts going forward. Said you can't pick and choose when you want to play a player.
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) September 3, 2018
We will know before too long whether Hurts plays too much to maintain the option to redshirt this year. However, the possibility of him leaving as a graduate transfer after the season seems quite real.
- Filed Under:
- College Football
Alabama on Saturday held one of its two fall scrimmages. Though they are not open to the media, that didn’t stop AL.com’s Matt Zenitz from writing about and reporting on the event.
Zenitz says he was told Tagovailoa “threw at least three touchdowns with no interceptions” and that Jalen Hurts “had three interceptions and didn’t account for any touchdowns.”
He also pointed to a tweet from former Alabama DB Will Lowery, who tweeted the following about the competition:
Disclaimer: this is the first scrimmage of camp, and the only practice I’ve seen. But from what I watched today, I’ll be shocked if Tua isn’t day 1 starter, and it isn’t close. Don’t expect an announcement prior to opening kickoff tho..
— Will Lowery (@jwlowery29) August 11, 2018
Many have expected Tagovailoa to win the job after seeing how well he performed against Georgia last season. There was speculation that Hurts could even transfer out of the program despite being so successful in his first two seasons, though that did not happen. However, Hurts recently made some headlines when he was critical of the Bama coaches’ handling of the QB situation.
Nick Saban on Wednesday responded Jalen Hurts’ criticism of the coaching staff.
Hurts told the media on Saturday that none of the Alabama Crimson Tide coaches had communicated with him or checked with him about how he was feeling about the quarterback competition. Hurts, who was the Crimson Tide’s starter the past two seasons, is competing with Tua Tagovailoa for the starting job. Tagovailoa came in after halftime of the national championship game and led the Tide to victory.
Saban says that Hurts’ comments and criticism will not affect the competition.
“I don’t think it has any effect on our team. I’ve talked to a lot of our team leaders. The players are focused on what they need to do. The rhetoric will not have anything to do with who’s the quarterback. That will obviously be decided on the field by how people execute, how they do their job,” Saban said, via AL.com’s Michael Casagrande.
Many are expecting Tagovailoa to be the team’s starter, believing he has higher upside than Hurts, as shown in the title game. Hurts, who is not transferring despite an offseason of rumors, should not be discounted. Alabama has gone 27-2 in his two seasons, which says a lot about his ability to win games.
Jalen Hurts dealt with some backlash over the weekend after he criticized the Alabama coaching staff for the way they have handled the team’s quarterback situation, and his mother wants to help set the record straight.
Hurts, who was benched in favor of Tua Tagovailoa during the national championship game, told the media on Saturday that neither Nick Saban nor other members of Alabama’s coaching staff asked him how he felt about the situation until it was too late. Hurts’ mother, Pamela, later took to Facebook to lash out against those who have bashed her son for speaking his mind.
“Wow ignorance is (bliss),” Pamela Hurts wrote in a post, via Justin Smith of TDAlabamaMag.com. “When has Jalen ever spoken to media about anything other than the team? When has he ever whined, pouted or talk about what ‘y’all’ don’t know takes place behind the scenes? There’s a reason why players aren’t allowed to speak to the media. Jalen spoke his truth, finally, after 3 years of being compliant and controlled. You have no idea what is and has been going on — and most likely, never will.
“Folks quick to speak highly on his character and demeanor, but know he is completely opposite of those accolades today. If you can turn on this young man today and not your president for any of his rhetoric, you were never with him to begin with.”
Given the way Tagovailoa led Alabama to a championship against Georgia, he has been the clear favorite to win the starting job heading into 2018. Despite that, Hurts apparently told Saban that he has no intention of transferring, which is a big change from what the QB’s father said several months ago.
Hurts seems to have an issue with Saban saying earlier in the offseason that he was unsure if the junior will be on the roster to start the season. If Hurts truly never intended to transfer, it does seem like there should have been better communication between him and Alabama’s coaches.
The Alabama Crimson Tide have a quarterback controversy on their hands, and have since last year’s national championship game. But one of the quarterbacks involved does not appear happy with how it has been handled.
Jalen Hurts, who was benched during the championship game in favor of Tua Tagovailoa, has been the subject of transfer rumors and chatter all summer. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Hurts said no coaches had talked to him about how he felt during the summer, and the attempts to address things with him now come too late.
@JalenHurts: "No one came up to me the whole spring, coaches included, no one asked me how I felt. No one asked me what was on my mind. … Now when we're trying to handle the situation now, for me it's kinda late. It's too late. The narrative has already been created." pic.twitter.com/adJS7UxmdL
— Alex Byington (@_AlexByington) August 4, 2018
Hurts also rebutted coach Nick Saban, who had said he wasn’t sure if Hurts would be on the roster when the season opened.
Alabama QB Jalen Hurts on Nick Saban saying he wasn't sure if he'd be on the roster for the season opener: "I was kind of shocked he said that. … I told him like I'll tell you today, that I'm going to be here.”
— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) August 4, 2018
There’s a lot going on here. Saban has talked about an open competition for the starting quarterback job, but it has long been assumed that Tagovailoa would win that, potentially leading to Hurts transferring elsewhere. Saban ultimately announced Hurts planned to stay, but didn’t say so until late July, and added in the same breath that he encouraged both Hurts and Tagovailoa to keep the focus off themselves as they competed for the starting job.
Hurts clearly hasn’t done that, and he had a lot to say here. He doesn’t appear to be happy that he hasn’t been allowed to speak publicly about his feelings, nor is he pleased that no one on staff seemed to talk to him about what was on his mind. Obviously this is his retelling of events, but it seems to be an indication that Hurts has some grievances with how Alabama has handled the quarterback controversy and the rampant unaddressed speculation that has come along with it.
- Jalen Hurts
With questions still swirling about whether Hurts will transfer if national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa beats him out for the starting job, Nick Saban told ESPN’s Sage Steele on Tuesday that Hurts came to him earlier this month and assured him he is not going anywhere.
“Jalen actually came to me and said … ‘I am going to be here. I am going to be here. I came here to get an education. I graduate in December, and I’m going to be here,'” Saban said.
When Saban was asked about his QB situation back in April, he seemed far less certain of what Hurts was planning to do. Hurts’ father actually made some comments that indicated Jalen had every intention of transferring if he was not going to start, but it doesn’t sound like that will be the case.
Saban said Tuesday that the competition remains open, and he would not rule out both players having a role in Alabama’s offense. He also told both Hurts and Tagovailoa that they should make an effort to not have the focus of the offseason be on themselves.
“Both guys have proven that they’re capable of making plays that can help you win games in college, and if that’s the case, maybe there’s some reason to have a role for both players,” Saban said. “And if that’s the case, that’s what we’ll try to do.
“I’ve told both players, ‘You’ve gotta win the team, and everything you do to bring attention to yourself, or anybody even in your family that brings attention to yourself, you’re not doing yourself a service in trying to win the team.'”
If Tagovailoa hadn’t gotten an opportunity to play in the national championship game against Clemson, it sounds like Hurts wouldn’t have had to worry about losing his job heading into 2018. Tagovailoa’s ceiling seems to be a lot higher, but Saban won’t hesitate to award the job to Hurts if he performs better this summer.