Alabama currently contains a tough offseason decision to make under center: They have a seasoned quarterback in Jalen Hurts, and also have a freshman on the rise in Tua Tagovailoa. Do the Crimson Tide roll with the one who’s been in the system longer, or the one who won them the 2017-18 NCAA title?
Tua Tagovailoa’s name began to float around after the 2017 Alabama spring game, where he showcased his arm and ability to escape the pocket. Throughout the 2017-18 season, fans wondered why he hadn’t gotten any playing time since that spring.
He is an excellent player from what was seen from his National Championship run. We didn’t get to see a lot of him, but from the situation at hand, you could see just how prepared he was to win that game.
When Tagovailoa was brought into the game in the second half, Crimson Tide fans were relieved, but stressed as well. As soon as Tagovailoa showed his capability, the fans were behind him. In the second half of that game championship game, he threw a total of 24 times for 166 yards, racked 3 touchdowns (one being the game-winning) and only allowed 1 interception. He rushed a total of 12 times for 27 yards.
Tua Tagovailoa could easily be the future of the Crimson Tide; he has the right mindset, a great set of skills for Nick Saban’s offense, and a great mentality for football. If Saban decides to start the season with Jalen Hurts, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s just to get Tagovailoa slowly worked into everything. Tagovailoa could get more minutes as the weeks go on, and could be the starting the quarterback eventually. In an alternative scenario, Saban could start the season with Tagovailoa as the starter, and roll with him throughout the season. Either way, I believe we will see more of the left-handed thrower as the season progresses.
Jalen Hurts is no stranger to Alabama fans, and he’s made his point of who he thinks the starter should be. Hurts has had a great career in Alabama, but last season was a down year for him, and it gave Tagovailoa the chance to showcase himself. In his defense, Hurts had an excellent season, and 2016 season proved why he should be wearing Crimson.
In the Georgia game, Hurts looked sloppy, and the Georgia defense seemed too much at times. In that particular game, fans were wondering what Saban was doing in terms of keeping Hurts under center. In the second half, it was Tagovailoa’s time, and Hurts seemed rather “happy” for him. Now, Hurts has made it known how he really feels as the season inches closer.
“For me, no one came up to me the whole spring, coaches included, no one asked me how I felt,” said Hurts, a junior. “No one asked me what was on my mind. No one asked me how I felt about the things that were going on. Nobody asked me what my future held. That’s that. So now it’s like when we try to handle the situation now, for me, it’s kind of late, it’s too late, the narrative has already been created.”
One possibility that Nick Saban could explore is to play both of these quarterbacks. Not only would it allow them to be a little more fresh in the postseason, but it also provides a change of pace in the Alabama offense.
Playing two quarterbacks is probably the smartest decision to go with, as it will force the opposing defense to change their scheme, according to who is starting in that series.
Having both of these spectacular players could be a blessing in disguise for Alabama, and it may be the easiest way for them to find themselves in another Nation Championship celebration.
Photo Source: AP/ David J. Phillip