Jalen Hurts is exactly what we’ve all come to expect out of quarterbacks who suit up for Alabama. While he may not ever put the Crimson Tide on his back and single-handedly win a game, Hurts is a smart, risk-averse signal caller who will never make the types of mistakes that cost the team a win.
As a freshman, Hurts rode this wave to lead the team to a national title. As a sophomore, Hurts started every game, but was pulled at halftime of the College Football Playoff championship against Georgia for true freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who went on to win the game in overtime. Despite the fact that Hurts got them to the title game — he threw 17 touchdowns and one pick on the season — the coaching staff went with Tagovailoa in a rare risk for Nick Saban’s program.
This has led to an offseason of rumors and speculation about the starting quarterback situation. Who will start this coming season: Hurts or Tagovailoa? Hell, will Hurts even be in Tuscaloosa, or will he transfer because of how things went down in the title game?
All of this was expected to be addressed at the Crimson Tide’s media day on Saturday. No clarity was given about the starter, outside of the “they’ll battle for the job” jargon you expect out of coaches. Then, Hurts met with the media, and was candid in his disappointment with how things have gone this offseason.
“This is a situation that is uncontrollable,” Hurts said. “Coaches can’t control this situation. They dictate who plays. But as far as variations to it, they don’t control it honestly. This whole spring ever since the game, they kind of wanted to let it play out. They kind of, I guess, didn’t think it was a thing or tried to let it die down like it wasn’t something there because it has always been the elephant in the room.”
Hurts also said that he told Saban in June that he’d be with the team, saying “I’m about to graduate in December so why leave? Even though I’m not in a situation in which I think I should leave, I’m here. Why do that when you’re only 15 credits, 15 hours away from graduation?”
Alabama is a program that is oftentimes defined by, among other things, the fact that controversy like this rarely makes it way out into the public. However, Hurts had a platform to express grievances that he’s had dating back a few months, something that he’s very obviously wanted but never received for reasons outside of his control.
The irony of all of this is that it’s really easy to see a scenario where Hurts starts for the Crimson Tide again this season. While Tagovailoa was a revelation in the title game, it’s plausible that he won’t have nearly as much success when a defense can gameplan for him. It’s basically a question of whether Saban and co. want to go with the known commodity in Hurts, or more of an unknown in Tagovailoa. The title game would make you think the latter, but the history of Nick Saban coaching Alabama football would make you think the former.
Regardless, it seems the Crimson Tide have something of a mess on their hands, one that could have been avoided if they didn’t wait until Aug. 4 to let Hurts say something.