It takes a lot to change Nick Saban.

The Alabama coach comes off as someone who hasn’t changed in decades. A guy who has five national titles doesn’t have to change for anyone, but he does have to evolve. Saban, to his credit, did that admirably.

He evolved his offensive thinking and brought in Lane Kiffin to modernize the Tide attack. Saban also evolved in his treatment of his players. He now emphasizes individual motivators instead of team motivators to his roster full of millennials.

The latest evolution of Saban can be seen at the quarterback position. Reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts and emerging freshman Tua Tagovailoa both have actual roles in Alabama’s offense.

Compare that to last year when when Blake Barnett, Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell all left Tuscaloosa. Of course, it later came out that Barnett and Bateman were surprised that Saban stuck with Hurts after both were told they would get regular snaps.

Whichever side you believe in that story, the reality was that Saban still lost three quarterbacks via transfer. That’s not normal for any program, even one that has a true freshman starter. Clearly, Saban didn’t handle that situation as well as he could have.

As for his quarterback situation in 2017, that’s a completely different story.

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to forget that as recently as 10 years ago, quarterback transfers were rare. Coaches like Saban didn’t necessarily have to worry about a mass exodus like Alabama had in 2016. Say what you want about the reasoning behind that trend — more hype for quarterback recruits, fewer geographical limitations, more money to make in the NFL — but it is still a trend.

Take one look around the SEC and it sure seems like starting quarterbacks are younger than ever. That doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

The tricky part is how to handle it. Saban has both Hurts and Tagovailoa engaged and on board with the offensive game plan. That could’ve easily been a situation in which Saban said (figuratively), “This is Jalen’s offense until further notice. Next question.”

RELATED: Alabama picking spots wisely to use Tua Tagovailoa

While it’s Hurt’s offense, the Tennessee game showed why Tagovailoa is such a valuable piece of the puzzle. Saban likes what he can do to open up the passing game. The intermediate passing game isn’t Hurts’ strong suit. But sooner or later, Alabama is going to need that to win a ball game. Probably.

Alabama averaged 210 passing yards per game in 2016. It's at 201 this season, but the QBs are taking much better care of the ball.

What Saban is doing with Hurts and Tagovailoa is different than what Urban Meyer did with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. That was a senior and a freshman, neither of whom were threats to transfer.

Saban is dealing with a true freshman and a true sophomore, both of whom would have every program in America recruiting them if they decided to leave. Obviously Saban knows that. And obviously Saban knows there’s a very realistic chance that Hurts stays in Tuscaloosa for another two seasons.

The thought of mishandling the situation with Tagovailoa and watching him become a star elsewhere is probably every Alabama fan’s biggest concern right now.

Does that mean Tagovailoa gets special treatment from Saban? No, but he should get clearer communication than the past Alabama quarterback transfers got.

Saban’s challenge is selling the individual motivators to Tagovailoa when the team motivators could certainly be more beneficial to Alabama’s near and distant future. That’s not easy.

In some ways, Kirby Smart is going through the same thing at Georgia. He can swerve around the question all he wants, but Jake Fromm is the Dawgs’ starting quarterback for 2017 and beyond. In Smart’s perfect world, Jacob Eason would forget about his 5-star recruit roots and come in more motivated than ever to win the starting job in 2018. But getting Eason to stay in a Georgia uniform after 2017 will also be a major challenge, especially now that 5-star QB recruit Justin Fields has committed to the Dawgs as well.

RELATED: What Nick Saban said after Alabama’s blowout win vs. Tennessee

We don’t know what that communication will look like behind closed doors. At Alabama, all public communication about the quarterback situation has been positive.

Tagovailoa said after he threw an awful pick-six on Saturday at Tennessee that he went up to Saban and apologized. What Saban said in the postgame press conference about that was telling.

“You probably don’t know Tua very well, but he says thank you and apologizes for everything and he was apologizing for that,” Saban said on Saturday via “I think the most important thing is he went back into the game and he played well and made plays. Even though he felt bad about what he did, it didn’t affect his confidence and I don’t think it affected the players’ confidence in him.”

Saban noted that Tagovailoa says “thank you” for everything. Whenever Saban asks Tagovailoa how he’s doing, the freshman quarterback always adds “thanks for asking.” Apparently Saban started doing that, too. He admitted that Tagovailoa has actually made him “more polite.”

And who said you couldn’t change Saban.