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Nick Saban plans to keep playing both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts all season

Nick Saban plans to keep playing both Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts all season

“It’s the same as it’s always been, to use them both,” Saban told ESPN on Thursday. “It evolves a little bit as you go. Our team has evolved. I can’t tell you exactly how it all will play out. It’s going to be whoever helps our team play the best, and they’ve both played a role in doing that.”

Tagovailoa has started the first three games for the No. 1 Crimson Tide and ranks first nationally in ESPN’s Total QBR metric at 98.3 (out of 100). He has directed 20 drives as Alabama’s starting quarterback with 14 resulting in touchdowns and another resulting in a field goal. Tagovailoa is 36-of-50 for 646 yards, eight touchdown passes and no interceptions for an Alabama offense that leads the nation in scoring with an average of 56.7 points per game. The Tide have outscored opponents 170-28 through three games.nfl jersey wholesale

Hurts has also played in every game and has entered in the first half of every contest. He’s 19-of-28 for 248 yards, four touchdown passes and one interception. Hurts, a junior, was 26-2 as Alabama’s starter before being beat out this preseason by Tagovailoa, the hero of last season’s national championship game.2

“I understand how unique a situation this is,” Saban said. “I don’t know of any other precedent at any time in college football where a guy started 28 games, won 26 of them and then somebody took his place. That’s never happened. So that’s hard for Jalen, and it’s hard for me. I’m a loyal guy and loyal to the guys who get out there and lay it on the line for you. You want to be fair to all of your players, but you also want to be fair to your team.

“We needed both quarterbacks last year, and we’ll need them both again this year.”

With the NCAA’s new redshirt rules, a player can play up to four games in a season and still keep his redshirt year. Hurts is on track to graduate in December and could transfer and play immediately somewhere else next season as a graduate transfer. There has been some speculation that he could choose to play only in an emergency situation after Saturday’s game against No. 22 Texas A&M, which would be the fourth game of the season for Alabama. That way, he would still have two years of eligibility remaining if he did choose to transfer.

Saban acknowledged having discussions with Hurts at the beginning of the season regarding various scenarios, but said Hurts has been nothing but team-oriented.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Every time I’ve talked to Jalen since the season started, he’s said, ‘Coach, I want to play,’ and has never said otherwise,” Saban said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s never asked not to play in a game. He says he’s ready to play and has practiced well and prepared well. Jalen’s a competitor, and the kids on this team respect him. They respect both quarterbacks.