As far as Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts is concerned, nothing much has changed since he was pulled from the national championship and watched on the sideline as Tua Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to the national championship.
Nothing much has changed for Coach Nick Saban, either, because he’s perfectly content to leave the question of who will be his starting quarterback unanswered, as frustrating as that may be for Hurts and Saban when rumors swirl.
“When I look at the things that are being said — and I’m not looking for it, it comes to me — when I see that those things are being said, that’s silly because, ‘He said this, he said that, maybe Coach Saban said this,’ ” Hurts told reporters Saturday. “Whoever said whatever. ‘What did Jalen say?’ Not a thing.”
Not that he has much say in the matter, other than by how he plays. For his part, Hurts said he had met with Saban and planned to stay at Alabama, with a December graduation date, no matter what.
“I mean, this is a situation that is uncontrollable,” Hurts said. “Coaches can’t control this situation. They dictate who plays, but as far as the other variations to it, they don’t control it, honestly. Like I said, this whole spring, ever since the game, they kind of wanted to let it play out, and I guess didn’t think it was a thing to let it die down like there wasn’t something there. But that’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. 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.”
Strong message. Saban’s dilemma? Hurts is 26-2 as a starter, but Tagovailoa passed for three touchdowns in the national championship game. Saban repeatedly uses the words “still to be determined” and “somebody has to win the team” when asked about the situation. It’s a nice problem to have but one that requires finesse and questions about his starter are irritating.
“You guys are totally fixated on who has to be first team and who is second team. Why?” Saban asked reporters. ” . . . We’re practicing every day, we’re evaluating every day. . . . I want them to be focused on what they have to do to win.”
Tagovailoa, who has been nursing a hand injury, wasn’t going to get into the quarterback competition.
“We don’t talk about any quarterback controversies at practice,” he said Saturday. “Me and Jalen don’t even bring it up. As far as this season, we’re just looking at getting each other better. There’s no negative contingencies. We don’t go into games thinking I might not start or I’m going to go into this game and I’m going to throw a pick. No negative contingencies. We want to be positive because the team looks at that.
“The team looks at what we say [to] the media as well. I just don’t want anything to ruin our relationship, and I don’t think anything between me and Jalen is bad.”
‘Bama opens the season Sept. 1 with a home game against Louisville.
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