Perhaps due to the fact he’s the most recognizable and respected college football coach in the country, Nick Saban always seems to find himself at the center of one offseason SEC storyline or another.
This year, much of the discussion in Tuscaloosa centers around the quarterback competition Saban’s program finds itself dealing with after Tua Tagovailoa’s National Championship Game heroics helped win the Crimson Tide’s latest title. For most programs, that would be enough for the rising sophomore to assume the starting duties heading into the next season but, of course, Alabama isn’t like most programs.
Two-year starting quarterback Jalen Hurts is returning and after consecutive national title game appearances, it’s hard to argue with the leadership and winning culture the rising junior brings to Alabama’s program. With such a difficult decision on his hands, Saban was recently asked about the possibility of playing two quarterbacks in 2018 during his appearance at Birmingham’s Region’s Tradition pro-am.
“No, I haven’t given (playing two QBs) any thought, right now,” Saban answered in a video posted on YouTube by Alabama Football. “We got two guys competing at the position and I’m not going to speculate on things that may or may not happen. We have a lot of choices and decisions that we have to make so we’re not going to really answer questions that are hypothetical in nature — which you see to love to ask.”
Saban was then asked if Alabama could potentially add a graduate transfer quarterback. The Tide nearly had one in former ECU signal caller Gardner Minshew, before Washington State offered Minshew a more clear path to a starting role in the Wazzu offense.
“We are always looking for ways to bring players to our team that could improve our team,” Saban answered. “Right now is spring recruiting so, if we saw somebody out there that we thought would make our team better at any position, we’d certainly bring them in.”
The Alabama coach was also asked about blocking transfers from within the conference. Saban is reportedly doing so in the case of offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy. Kennedy is a graduate transfer and is seeking the opportunity to transfer to Auburn or Tennessee.
“We have an SEC rule about do we want to have free agency within our conference. I think there’s certain situations where it may be better for the student-athlete, in those cases, I would be supportive of guys doing it,” Saban said. “I’ve done it in the past and I’ve not done it in the past. I do think that this whole transfer thing is something that we should look at more from a thousand feet. We don’t like to be put in the middle of all these rules — as coaches, I think none of us do.”
Kennedy is appealing Alabama’s decision to block him from Auburn or Tennessee and it’s also worth noting that the NCAA is expected to vote on ending the practice of athletes needing to gain permission from their former school before transferring. That vote is expected to occur in June.