Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler question why Tua Tagovailoa was even playing against Mississippi State
Hindsight is 20/20, so, looking back, of course Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa should have sat out Saturday’s game against Mississippi State.
However, he was cleared by doctors and made the start against the Bulldogs. You know what happened next — just before halftime, he suffered a devastating hip injury and will now miss the rest of the season.
After the game (and after calling the Baylor-Oklahoma game), ESPN’s Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit weighed in on Tua’s injury on Instagram, calling into question why he was playing at all:
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We talk/toast Tua.. and choice to play him. OU’s epic comeback, Minnesota’s stumble.. where UGA stands.. and more. For you hardcores who say you want even more…. Part II peeks at next week & CFP debate stuff. We had fun with these!
“I do want to say this. I don’t have medical training, but I didn’t feel like he should have played,” Fowler said. “I felt like this was an opportunity against a very overmatched defense to not play him. We saw what he was like at the end of the LSU game. I know he got medically cleared. I know Alabama’s staff is as fine in sports perhaps. It’s a major selling point for the program. It’s a recruiting tool they use.
“The medical staff is not trying to send a guy out there to beat Mississippi State at the risk of his career. That’s not what they’re doing. I’m not saying that. But I do think you’re mobility is affected and if you have an opponent that has no chance to stop you, maybe it’s a prudent thing to sit him out. Maybe it’s a prudent thing to pull him out up four touchdowns late in the half. Obviously, Saban is going to second guess himself privately if not publicly. It was a tough thing to see him in the game in that situation. Obviously, it worked out very poorly at the end of the half.”
Herbstreit also questioned the decision to have Tagovailoa in the game:
“I just felt this. Now, there’s how we all felt on the outside before the game, ‘Why do you need him against Mississippi State? You have an FCS opponent the following week.’ It gives Tua two weeks off of LSU to get ready for the Iron Bowl. That’s outside thinking.But talking to Barrett Jones tonight, who may be one of the most decorated players in the history of Alabama, he reminded me, ‘Coach doesn’t really look at things like it’s Mississippi State (a lesser opponent). He sees things like doctors cleared you, it’s a faceless opponent, let’s go out and execute.’ That’s how he sees things from his era.
“This might be a time where he will reflect on, ‘Maybe I need to look at things and treat a guy like Tua differently than the way I’ve always treated my players.’ This is first guessing for me. I don’t know why Tua was on the field to begin with.
“We’re not sitting here saying, ‘What’s Nick Saban doing?’ It’s more for me of why was he on the field at the beginning of the game when you could give him a chance to recover and get ready for the Iron Bowl. You almost have to save him from himself.”
Have we seen the last of Tua in college? We’ll have to see what he decides to do with his future.