Nick Saban on Alabama's ongoing QB battle: 'I wish we could talk about something else'

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban has nothing to say about the ongoing quarterback battle. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has nothing to say about the ongoing quarterback battle. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

There has been no change on the quarterback depth chart for Alabama.

Ahead of Saturday’s season opener against Louisville, the Tide released a depth chart with national championship hero Tua Tagovailoa and two-year starter Jalen Hurts listed as co-starters at the position.

That is the same as things have been for the Tide all summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Nick Saban hasn’t made a decision about the starter. Even if he did, he wouldn’t tell the media about it.

“If I’m ready to tell you, I’ll tell you. And if I’m not, I won’t,” Saban said.

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In fact, Saban would rather talk about pretty much anything else. When one reporter asked if Tagovailoa and Hurts being listed as co-starters meant both would play, Saban wasn’t having it.

“Nobody said that. Where did that come from? None of that’s been decided yet,” Saban said. “I wish we could talk about something else because I don’t really have anything else to say about it.”

What Saban did say about the quarterbacks reiterated the sentiment he has expressed for most of the offseason.

“I think both guys have focused very well. I don’t see guys looking over their shoulder worrying about what the other guy is going to do,” Saban said. “They just try to do a good job when they’re in there, which I think is the best way for them to develop the confidence they need.”

How did we get here?

Whether it’s fair or not, most expect Tagovailoa to win the job.

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He quickly impressed last year and pushed Hurts all year while also performing well in mop-up duty. But he was still behind Hurts until the very end of the season. Hurts scuffled in the first half of the CFP title game vs. Georgia, prompting Saban and the coaching staff to insert Tagovailoa at halftime with Bama down 13-0. From there, he led the Tide to a dramatic comeback victory that was capped off with the game-winning overtime TD pass to DeVonta Smith.

But before Tagovailoa’s triumphant title game performance, Hurts established himself as a really good player in the SEC. As a true freshman, he scored 36 total touchdowns and was the conference’s freshman of the year and offensive player of the year while leading the Tide to a national runner-up finish. He was the captain of the Tide offense in 2017 as well but never seemed to progress as a passer.
Looking for a spark, the coaches put Tagovailoa into the game. It proved to be the right move. And now, seven months later, the QB controversy still hasn’t settled.

Hurts opens up about lack of communication from coaches

After the national title game, Hurts wasn’t made available to reporters until earlier this month. He had a few things to get off his chest.

“This is a situation that is uncontrollable,” Hurts said. “Coaches can’t control this situation. They’ll dictate who plays but as far as the other variations to it, they don’t control it honestly. And like I said, this whole spring, ever since the game, they kind of wanted to let it play out. They kinda I guess didn’t think it was a thing or tried to let it die down like it wasn’t something there because it’s always been the elephant in the room.

“For me, 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. No one asked me how I felt about the things that were going on. No one asked me about the future held and that’s that. So now it’s like when we try to handle the situation now, for me it’s kinda late. It’s too late. The narrative has already been created.”

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Biggest free agent in college football history?

Earlier in the offseason, Hurts’ father told Bleacher Report that Jalen could potentially become “the biggest free agent in college football history” if he were to pursue a transfer. If it happens, it won’t be for some time.

Despite Saban previously saying he wasn’t entirely sure Hurts would be around, Hurts said he told Saban that he will stay at Alabama, especially since he’s so close to graduating.


Once he graduates, he would be immediately eligible at a potential transfer destination. But, for now, that is all hypothetical.

After all, Hurts could end up being the Tide’s starter on Saturday.

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