Nick Saban updates injuries to Alabama QBs Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts
Don’t expect Nick Saban to tip his hand about Alabama’s quarterback situation just because the Crimson Tide is facing an FCS team this week.
Alabama’s coach remained as tight-lipped as ever when asked about his signal-callers during his weekly press conference Monday. With starter Tua Tagovailoa dealing with a lingering knee injury and backup Jalen Hurts working his way back from ankle surgery, the position is still a concern even as the No. 1 Crimson Tide prepares to host The Citadel this weekend.
“Jalen is still day-to-day, definitely getting better,” Saban said. “Tua is OK, going to be able to practice, so that won’t be an issue. Mac (Jones) is getting a lot of reps, so I think he’s getting better. Whatever the guys can do, they’re going to do, and we’ll get them reps where we can. … We’ll evaluate as we go through the week of practice.”
Jones, a redshirt freshman, was forced into action to begin the fourth quarter of Alabama’s 24-0 win against No. 16 Mississippi State last weekend. Tagovailoa took far more hits than usual against the stout Bulldogs’ defense and spent the final period riding a stationary bike.
Considering Tagovailoa doesn’t appear to be 100 percent healthy and the Crimson Tide has huge games looming against Auburn and Georgia, Saban was asked if he might limit his star quarterback’s snaps against The Citadel.
“No,” Saban said. “Why would we do that? Say this isn’t an important game or he doesn’t need to play? I think we need to do a better job around him, the people he’s playing with, so he doesn’t get hit. He needs to do a better job stepping up in the pocket so he doesn’t get hit. … That’s what we’re going to focus on, not taking a guy out of the game so he doesn’t improve and get better.”
That’s vintage Saban, who has a reputation for keeping his team locked in no matter the opponent. That’ll likely be the case when Alabama (10-0) hosts The Citadel (4-5) at noon ET on Saturday.
Below are a few more pressing topics Saban touched upon during his press conference.
On the offensive line’s performance against Mississippi State:
- “I don’t want to call out of the offensive line. I don’t think that as an offense we did the little things you need to do against a good team. Whether it was technique-oriented — we made some mental errors in the game that were very costly. We didn’t finish blocks at times where we could have had some more explosive plays. When you play against good players, those things become really, really important. I think as an offensive team, we all need to do a little better job. … A good thing we did do at the end of the game was take more than six minutes off the clock. Although we didn’t score, we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.”
On his what specifically has keyed his defense’s improvement throughout the season:
- “The entire group has improved. I think first of all, we’re making a lot fewer mental errors. We simplified things a little bit, which has helped our players develop some confidence in what they’re doing. … I don’t think it’s one specific thing. It’s a combination of a lot of things that have created better execution on a more consistent basis.”