Nick Saban: Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts Must Avoid Attracting Too Much Attention

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2018

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa watches from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football Alabama spring game, Saturday, April 21, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

Alabama coach Nick Saban has made his message clear to his quarterbacks: Be seen on the field, not heard off of it.

"I've told both players, 'You've gotta win the team, and everything you do to bring attention to yourself, or anybody even in your family that brings attention to yourself, you're not doing yourself a service in trying to win the team,'" Saban told ESPN on Tuesday.

Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts are set to battle for the starting quarterback position in camp. Hurts is 26-2 as Alabama's starting quarterback over the last two seasons. Tagovailoa, perhaps the highest-touted quarterback Saban has ever recruited to Alabama, came into January's national title game and led the Tide to a comeback win over Georgia.

"Both guys have proven that they're capable of making plays that can help you win games in college, and if that's the case, maybe there's some reason to have a role for both players," Saban said. "And if that's the case, that's what we'll try to do."

Tagovailoa is undoubtedly the higher-upside play. He's more of a natural passer than Hurts, who was pulled from the title game due to his struggles through the air. 

But Saban has been racking up rings with a certain style of play, and Hurts has consistently won for him while under center. There's something to be said for going with what you know, and that's probably the best case to give Hurts the starting job initially. He's shown himself to be mistake-averse and largely efficient while also making plays with his feet.

Tagovailoa has just 77 passing attempts to his name, most of which came in garbage time or during the national title game. He's also been dealing with a finger injury.

Alabama opens its season Sept. 1 against Louisville. 

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