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Most valuable/best true freshman = Jalen Hurts without question. Fan of Bama or not - It's hard to deny a guy who has been 18 for 2-3 months come out and lead the offense of a Nick Saban coached Alabama #1 defending national championship caliber team -- beat out the other QB's.. notably Blake Barnett at age 17 and put up the passing yards, rushing yards, and come out from game #1 fumble first possession and continually show he's some sort of "cyborg" in being impossible to rattle. We'll see what his end of season/post season stats amount to but he should hit ~3,000 yards passing trump 1,000 yards rushing (easily) with 25+ TD's as a *true* 18 year old Freshman. If the dude manages to keep it together to go all the way and win a National Championship this year/Jan. -- He should actually be in the Heisman talk -- and without doubt freshman of the year, all-american, etc. He should be getting a few Heisman votes now just for leading the #1 team to a 10-0 record vs. a Grueling schedule so far imho. He doesn't deserve, yet, to win it -- But He should be in New York as an onlooker imho - At the 4th or 5th spot. Again, it can't be stressed enough at just how impressive what he's doing at his age, playing Highschool football this time last year on the most difficult team/most talented team in the country. At any rate - the sky is the ceiling for Hurts right now - if he has the usual freshman to sophomore increase in execution - Alabama's offense will be unstoppable the next couple of years.
Ermm. This wasn't awkward. Taking the time to write a short article on a random insignificant situation seems awkwardly stretching. ;) Seriously, she went to ArDarius asked him a relevant question that he could answer in X seconds and move on to Saban per usual. Saban arrives sooner than expected, he's obviously MUCH more important of an interview for ESPN post game than a player - so she does what she should have done and immediately shifts to Nick Saban. All that was , was a random 'timing' "issue". She could have stuck with Stewart and potentially lost Saban in the crowd/locker room etc - when her producers want her to get Saban at all 'costs'.
Wow, was this an ON TARGET article. Well done, JASON FRAYCHINEAUD. I, and most of the pundits, media, and fans had Cooper Bateman as Starter with Blake Barnett coming in -- and how much playtime either had depended merely on their in game success. No one really had Jalen Hurts as playing in the Season opener at all (maybe mop up if the score was out of hand). When media asked Saban days before game.. He said that Bateman and Barnett were the TWO left in the Quarterback 'battle' and they were listed on the depth chart together. Saban went on to say Hurts was young, and they had 'hopes' he would be able to contribute further down into the season. Saban post game freely admitted that the game plan all along was to put Hurts in the 3 series (not quarter, but series) no matter what. (As you saw it cost USC a timeout and shocked me (and I'm sure a TON of other people seeing hurts just come out under center just after game got started). Then Hurt's was to keep the ball and run it,.. but there was miscommunication and Harris (RB) Thought he was to run the ball. So the play action (fake handoff) created a fumble as both Hurt's and Harris were both trying to grab the ball and run with it. Ball comes out .. and Bama loses possession on Hurt's first play. IF this was intended for the RB to get the ball it's still miscommunication and technically Hurt's fault but not some bad hands etc by him.. he was trying to keep the ball to run with it with the quick 'fake handoff' to Damien Harris -- IF, Damien Harris was to just fake the 'take' and Hurts continue foward then it's Damien Harris's fault and while it looked really bad for Hurt's -- either scenario still makes sense why he was immediately thrown back in the game. But I just had to comment that Hurt's is the most talented QB on the team and for a True freshman,.. with just X months of learning under his belt at this level -- he's a STRONG contender to be Alabama's QB for the season and forward. His maturity at his age and obvious ability is abnormal and he'll only get better each game he plays. Blake Barnett is the #2 guy at this point. But I firmly believe he's still in the 'hunt' if Hurt's starts making a lot of mistakes -- As Barnett is at least 80% the talent Hurt's is,.. and showed it with his 'mop up' duty late in the game (But we have to remember this was with a 30+ point lead,.. pressure is completely off at this point for him.) It would not surprise me to see Barnett come in and start the next game or even Ole Miss game to throw them off -- I think Saban may continue to tinker with the two QB's (Hurts and Barnett) to throw off the DC/Coach of opposing team for at least 1-2 more games until one QB is settled in. The main property/quality that matters as both the QB's are well talented enough -- is which one has the TEAM behind them, which one is showing the best leadership. I think from the high profile USC game, that is without question Jalen Hurt's. The team rallied behind the guy after the showing of Hurt's INSANE Arm strength with the beautiful bomb to the end zone for TD #1 with ArDarius Stewart -- and continued to do so as Hurts went on , in his true freshman debut,.. to have 2 passing Touchdowns,.. and 2 Rushing Touchdowns. He has the best arm, and the best set of legs -- He's just the youngest, but as the article states he seems to still be 'ahead' of the others in leadership and the true leader of the team going forward. I read a lot of these comments and I would have and was very close to the same sentiments a few weeks ago -- but Saban and Co. pulled a fast one -- which makes this 'predictive' article so great. You called it,.. if you had insider information it sure didn't leak far or at least people didn't catch on to it in the media. As the local media had Barnett and Bateman playing with Hurt's not at all -- and then the day OF the game it was officially leaked that Barnett was to start the game. (Which surprised me as I was sure Bateman was going to start). All of that said,.. I'm really happy it turned out QB wise the way it had. Alabama fans have wanted a young Quarterback who will be around for more than 1 season for years now -- and now regardless of who we go with (hopefully Hurt's will just get better),.. that's exactly what we have. Finally, I suspect Saban will probably retire when this final freshman QB goes to NFL -- That said, Saban is a bit insecure about leaving coaching as he's made clear in some interviews -- So his words are he will continue coaching Alabama until he feels he isn't coaching to the same level he currently is/has been -- OR, he for some reason loses the same motivation that drives him to do what he does so successfully. So I prepare myself to have Saban another ~3 Years. anything beyond that is just bonus.
Kirby Smart really should have stayed at Alabama. In the "long run" it would have been the better financial decision. That said, he's still a rich man and will become considerably wealthier even if he tanks at Georgia. He was the natural "heir" to Saban,.. For Alabama it may be a blessing he is now at Georgia if he doesn't do well -- If he DOES do well, it puts Smart on the quick list of a future offer for more money than whatever Georgia pays him. But what incentive does he have to leave in that circumstance. All I could see is that he knows Alabama, he knows how the "people in control" handle things -- If Georgia is not handled "as well" he may be tempted to take an offer 4-6 years down the line.. Otherwise -- Dabo is a natural choice,.. but Saban isn't going to retire for at least 4 more seasons,.. which gives us all an opportunity to see what Dabo can do with a "Deshaun Watsonless" Clemson. Dabo might still be on the short list irregardless though. Kiffin is high risk as a HC. Kiffin's best career move was to come to Alabama.. by a MILE. His best move would be to STAY at Alabama and learn learn learn under the end of Saban's career (He'll be the last to get knowledge from one of the best (if not the best) on how to be a HC). People give Kiffin a tough time,.. he has a bad reputation/record as a HC. Though he's done a 180 in big part due to Nick Saban,. Kiffin is a super bright guy,.. he has to learn the rest of the "job" that goes into being a Head coach.. some of which he's learned already in the 2 years at Alabama. Again, if he wants to have a good shot at being the HC at the best spot in college football with a pile of recruits at his disposal.. he'll stick at Alabama as OC (while adding other duties/roles in as time goes on) to be "groomed" as Saban's replacement. An internal move from someone who has 5+ years at the program is generally smooth. Saban teaches / grooms/ makes Head coaches like no other guy I've ever seen. His assistants who have gone out have nearly all been quite successful.. which says a lot about what the guy does for his staff. Lastly, people give Saban a tough rap as well for being this machine, no personality, evil, joyless person. However, think of what he's done for SO many people's lives? All these players he's developed in so many ways,.. their career trajectory -- All these coaches he doesn't hold back who go on .. He's, imho, nothing short of an anomaly of a Head Coach/person.. sort of a once or two in a lifetime type of Coach. He's also having some of those edges smoothed out as he loosens up with age, and I think finally settling his internal conflict of finally being SETTLED for good somewhere, where he feels comfortable, and is given 100% control, The University of Alabama. One thing is definite: No one will be able to fill Nick Saban's shoes -- So any expectations of that are just, frankly, unrealistic.