By: Addison Willmon
This has been one of the larger points of conversation regarding college football this summer. There has been an ongoing quarterback battle between veteran starter, Jalen Hurts, and sophomore, national championship-winning Tua Tagovailoa. All the while, head coach Nick Saban has refused to offer any meaningful information to the conversation and chose to play both players in the season opener. Only he and his players knew which quarterback would take the field for the opening drive.
In the opener against Louisville, there was a clear distinction between each quarterback’s production:
Jalen Hurts Tua Tagovailoa
– Passer rating 120.9 235.4
– Completion percentage 5/9 (55.6%) 12/16 (75%)
– Yards / attempt 7.78 14.19
– Touchdowns 0 3 (1 rushing)
… Like night and day.
It seemed as though every time Tua touched the ball, it resulted in a touchdown in one way or another. He got lucky a few times, especially when he was bailed out by Jerry Jeudy after a wild throw to the back corner of the endzone, but that should not discount his apparent superior ball skills and decision-making. He consistently made tough throws and made good reads, despite being constantly pressured by Louisville’s stout defensive line.
Jalen Hurts’ performance was disappointing. From his first play, to the failed 60-yard throw on 3rd and 2, it just did not seem as though he was ready for the competition. The main point of argument to leave Jalen as the starter has been the plays he can create with his legs, but even that paled in comparison to Tagovailoa. Jalen only attempted three runs, which resulted in nine yards. Tua ran the ball five times for 26 yards and a touchdown. Without a strong performance in week two, Jalen Hurts will not be able to reclaim his starting position.
With all of that said, no true fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide wants Jalen Hurts to fail. He has been a more-than-serviceable starting quarterback and has lead them to two national championship appearances and a title (which was actually won by Tagovailoa in overtime, but I digress). He has set records and won many games for the Crimson Tide, and if he can not be the starter at Alabama, he will assuredly be the star of another team very soon.