Nick Saban is willing to go far enough as to say that both Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa will play Saturday night against Louisville. But he’s not going to tell you which quarterback will play first.
Saban confirmed what many of us thought in an ESPN interview Friday. Both QBs will play against the Cardinals in Week 1 in Orlando. But Saban has been coy about who his starter is going to be and seems content to let that drama build until Alabama’s first offensive possession.
“I think we have two guys that are weapons, and they’ve both played well, so the plan is to play both guys in the game,” Saban told ESPN’s Chris Fowler in an interview that will air on College Gameday on Saturday. “So the only issue is who plays first, and we’ll decide that when the time comes.”
The hero or the longtime starter?
If you’re a die-hard college football fan, you know this story. You can skip ahead. If you’re not, we’ll tell it again. Hurts is the team’s longtime starting quarterback and has started every game since the 2016 season-opener for the Tide. He was benched in the second half of the national championship game against Georgia in favor of Tagovailoa, who ended up throwing the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.
Hurts is a junior and is set to graduate at the end of December If he loses the QB competition in 2018 he’d have the option of transferring to another school and being immediately eligible in 2019. Tagovailoa said he had thoughts of transferring in 2017 as he sat behind Hurts as a freshman. He ultimately chose to stay at Alabama and became a legend in the state for the rest of his life with his throw to DeVonta Smith to win it all.
There’s probably no wrong answer when picking between the two. Tagovailoa may offer more promise than Hurts, who is a known commodity after nearly 30 games as a starter. But he’s been productive too. We’ll see who Saban goes with. Our pick is Tagovailoa, but we won’t be surprised if it’s Hurts either.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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