It’s unclear yet if Jalen Hurts will see playing time against Oklahoma. But one thing is clear: Sooners coach Lincoln Riley is a fan of Hurts for sticking it out at Alabama instead of transferring (and possibly redshirting) after losing the job to Tua Tagovailoa.
All four head coaches in this year’s College Football Playoff, including Riley, took part in a press conference Thursday. All four were asked to name their opponent’s “X factor.” Riley’s answer turned into praise for Hurts:
Q. This is for all four coaches. What is the X factor you’ve seen in your opponent?
LINCOLN RILEY: Yeah, tough to narrow it down to one when you start to study Alabama and all they do well. The thing I’ve seen from afar, and I don’t want to act like an I’m expert on their program, I’m not in those walls day-to-day, but you see the unselfishness in that program. The most obvious notable examples is Jalen Hurts because we need more guys like him. So really impressed with how their whole program managed great players at different positions.
And then as a team the obvious thing would be to say that Alabama has certainly been more explosive offensively than they’ve been in a while, and they’ve been good offensively, no question. But this group has been different, and they’re certainly fantastic defensively like they’ve been forever. A great challenge, but could not be more impressed with Jalen Hurts, how he handled that just from afar. Big fan of that kid and how that entire situation was managed.
Riley’s No. 4 Oklahoma squad takes on Alabama Dec. 29 in the Orange Bowl.