For the first time since 2013 (amazingly), Alabama is returning their starting quarterback. That would be sophomore Jalen Hurts, who is fresh off leading the Crimson Tide to the national title game in his first season under center.
As much as having their signal-caller back is a major talking point about the team’s revamped offense this season, so t0o is Hurts’ likely backup in former five-star Tua Tagovailoa. The early enrollee freshman made waves during spring practice for the Tide and lit up the Alabama defense during their spring game to turn a lot of heads and cause talk of a QB competition this summer.
Head coach Nick Saban has continued to downplay the possibility of any controversy at the position and reaffirmed the confidence he has in Hurts by speaking glowingly of the quarterback several times at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. Still, he told the SEC Network that while the team does have a starter already, the young Tagovailoa will not be redshirting this season and will find his way onto the field in some capacity.
“We have total faith and confidence in the quarterback that we have, but we want to develop every player on our team and Tua has a lot of potential,” Saban said on TV, according to SEC Country. “We want to continue to develop him. If we feel like he can play winning football, I think it’s going to be important for us to allow him to do that; so, if he gets in a situation that he needs to play, he’s going to be able to play winning football for us. We want to continue his development and a part of that development is he needs to play in games. So, to answer your question, absolutely.”
Playing two quarterbacks is nothing new for Saban at Alabama and he did so last season before Hurts fully took over the job. Former Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has already stated that Tagovailoa is going to play in 2017 for the team and, based on Wednesday’s comments, it seems the head coach finally agrees.