The Alabama Crimson Tide have two quarterbacks who could conceivably start next season, but Nick Saban isn’t currently thinking about how to accommodate both of them.
Saban, participating in a celebrity pro-am golf tournament on Wednesday, said he has not given any thought to finding a role for both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts.
“No, I haven’t given it any thought right now,” Saban said, via Charlie Potter of 247 Sports. “We’ve got two guys competing at the position. I’m not going to speculate on things that may or may not happen. We have a lot of choices and decisions and things we have to make, so we’re not going to really answer questions that are hypothetical in nature, which you seem to love to ask.”
Saban said in March he could envision a scenario in which both quarterbacks play. He’s quite clearly not getting ahead of himself, though.
Jalen Hurts saw his life flash before his eyes while watching Alabama’s softball game against Tennessee on Monday.
The Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback threw out the first pitch before the finale of a three-game series between the teams. Hurts stuck around to watch the game, hanging out down by the left field line past the Tide’s dugout. At one point a foul ball was ripped down the line and nearly nailed him:
— Brandon Kamerman (@B_Kamerman) April 24, 2018
Nick Saban got on Hurts for leaving the pocket under pressure, but that was a good time for him to avoid the contact.
It’s been a busy few days Hurts. He played in Alabama’s spring game on Saturday, threw out the first pitch before an Alabama baseball game last week, and then he threw out the first pitch on Monday.
Jalen Hurts throwing out the first pitch before tonight's game. He fired a strike. Does that help in the QB battle? pic.twitter.com/TQrwH2F8Yw
— Ehsan Kassim (@Ehsan_Kassim) April 23, 2018
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- College Football
- Jalen Hurts
Nick Saban was not disappointed with Jalen Hurts after Alabama’s spring game on Saturday despite some thoughts to the contrary.
Hurts was 19 for 37 with 195 yards and an interception against the first-team defense. He also rushed for 33 yards.
A video began circulating online that showed Saban seemingly expressing frustration with Hurts for scrambling on a play rather than trying to pass. Here’s the video:
Mic is HOT! Saban caught venting frustrations of Jalen Hurts' struggles during spring game.
"I'm just saying you get a chance to *inaudible* get his legs around him for two years. I mean the 3rd string quarterback can move the team right down the field throwing the ball" pic.twitter.com/rABmeiuooa
— Chris Renkel CBS 42 (@Chris_Renkel) April 22, 2018
After the game, Saban made it clear that he was not disappointed with Hurts.
“I was not disappointed in the way Jalen played,” Saban said. “I think we’ve got some guys that can rush a little bit, and even though we’re rushing four guys most of the time, there was way too much pressure in the pocket for the quarterback to be able to operate like we’d like.
“Jalen made some good plays in the game, made some good throws. I’m sure if you talk to him he’d say, ‘There’s things that I wish I could have done better and improve on.’ So that’s what we’re going to work on.”
Saban’s comments caught on the video — as well as his postgame comments — both note that the defense was getting pressure on the quarterback. His comments also seem to prove that he prefers to see his quarterback try to pass rather than run when in trouble.
The situation is one to monitor with all the speculation about Hurts potentially transferring. Tua Tagovailoa did not play in the spring game as he is recovering from a thumb injury.
Nick Saban on Thursday responded to a report that suggested Jalen Hurts could transfer away from Alabama.
Saban was asked about the matter while speaking with the media.
“I had a meeting with Jalen’s dad on Saturday after the scrimmage and it was a very positive meeting,” Saban said.
“I think we all want the same thing for all of our players. … Jalen has done a great job. He’s made a significant amount of improvement. His dad was very positive, but I think at the end of the day everyone has career decisions they’ll have to make.
“Nobody knows what the outcome of this situation is going to bring for us. We don’t want any players not to be able to fulfill their goals and aspirations in our program here. We don’t want that for any of our players,” Saban said.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes published a good article on Thursday about Hurts. The article quotes Hurts’ father, who suggests that his son will transfer if he does not win the Alabama starting quarterback job.
“Coach Saban’s job is to do what’s best for his team. I have no problem with that,” Averion Hurts told Hayes. “My job is to do what’s best for Jalen—and make no mistake, Jalen is a quarterback, and he wants to play quarterback. He loves Alabama, loves Coach Saban and everything about that place. But he wants to play, and he will play…”
Averion Hurts also said that if his son doesn’t win the job, he would be “the biggest free agent in college football history.”
Hurts won the Alabama starting job as a true freshman and led the Crimson Tide to the national championship game, where they lost to Clemson. He led them back to the title game last season but was replaced by Tua Tagovailoa after halftime with his team down 13-0. Tagovailoa led the team to a comeback win, and many think he’s the favorite to be the starter in the fall.
Saban may selfishly be trying to drag out the process so he can have both players on his roster, though an injury to Tagovailoa this spring is delaying things. Still, it seems possible that Hurts will end up transferring. And he sure would have plenty of options. There are probably 100 D-I programs that would love to have him.
Jalen Hurts paid off a bet with Charles Barkley in perfect fashion.
Hurts and Barkley bet over the outcome of the 2017 Iron Bowl, which Chuck’s Auburn Tigers won 26-14 over Hurts’ Crimson Tide. Although losing to their rival stings, that was the only defeat of the season for Bama, which went on to win the national championship.
This perfect video made by Nike and shared by Alabama puts that into perspective:
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) March 8, 2018
Hmm, advantage: Hurts.
Nick Saban may have an ideal “problem” on his hands entering the college football season.
Saban has two excellent quarterbacks on the roster. First, there’s Jalen Hurts, under whom the team has lost just two games in two seasons. He threw for 17 touchdowns and just one interception while rushing for eight scores last season. Then there’s Tua Tagovailoa, a dangerous dual-threat quarterback who entered the national championship game after halftime and led Alabama to victory over Georgia.
Saban told ESPN’s Chris Low on Thursday that he could see the team finding roles for both quarterbacks next season.
“The most important thing is to play the best guy, and if both guys can play winning football, it’s not out of the question that we’ll find a role for both guys in fairness to both guys,” Saban told ESPN. “I don’t know that there’s any more to it than that.”
Saban has told both quarterbacks there will be an open competition for the starting job and that both will have a chance to win it.
Based on what we saw in the title game, Tagovailoa seems to offer some more upside than Hurts. But you can’t discount what Hurts has done the last two seasons; he’s a pretty awesome quarterback to have leading your team too.
Jalen Hurts was Alabama’s starting quarterback all season, but Tua Tagovailoa is getting much of the credit for leading the Tide to a national championship. While the freshman deserves plenty of praise, Hurts was part of the reason Alabama was in position to capture a title. Tagovailoa wants to make sure fans remember that.
On Thursday, Tagovailoa took to Twitter to defend Hurts against critics who say the sophomore should have been benched in favor of his younger teammate much sooner.
Tired of people not appreciating the fact that if this man led us to the National Championship. And for all the fans that are against Jalen, you against me too. You either WITH US or AGAINST US. Love you 2 #BigBroLittleBro @JalenHurts pic.twitter.com/ExjHAB7yHh
— Tua Tagovailoa (@Tuaamann_) January 11, 2018
Hurts, who handled his benching on Monday night as well as Nick Saban could have asked for, appreciated the kind words from Tagovailoa.
— Jalen Hurts (@JalenHurts) January 11, 2018
— Tua Tagovailoa (@Tuaamann_) January 11, 2018
Going forward, Tagovailoa is almost certain to be the Tide’s starting quarterback. It remains to be seen if Hurts will transfer, but there should be no shortage of interest in him with the experience he has and maturity he showed during an incredibly tough situation.
While Tagovailoa is saying all the right things, there have been indications that he feels he should have been given an opportunity to play sooner. He has the potential to be a star next season.