Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban apologized to ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor for his curt response to a question about quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts following Saturday's 51-14 win over the Louisville Cardinals.
James Andrew Miller, who co-authored a book about the history of ESPN, reported Sunday that Saban reached out to Taylor by phone to address the situation.
SportsCenter shared the postgame exchange between the two:
"Well, I still like both guys. I think both guys are good players," Saban said to Taylor (h/t USA Today's Josh Peter). "I think both guys can help our team, all right? So why do you continually try to get me to say something that doesn't respect one of them? I'm not going to. So quit asking."
Many criticized Saban for his reaction to a question about what has been the biggest storyline surrounding Alabama entering the 2018 season:
Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks
Maria asked Saban an incredibly fair and necessary question. He didn’t have to answer.....There were so many other ways for him to say it: “I don’t want to answer that question anymore, both guys are talented” the testiness and tone were both unnecessary. We all have jobs to do.
In the buildup to the Crimson Tide's season opener, Saban declined to name neither Tagovailoa nor Hurts as the starting quarterback. Although Tagovailoa played more Saturday, Hurts also got on the field, thus ensuring the questions would continue.
Tagovailoa finished 12-of-16 for 227 yards and two touchdowns, while Hurts was 5-of-9 for 70 yards. It would appear Tagovailoa is Saban's preferred option under center, but this will remain a story until he definitively states the sophomore is his No. 1 choice.
The Tide return to the field Saturday against the Arkansas Red Wolves and then open up SEC play with the Ole Miss Rebels on Sept. 15.