The QB Battle in BAMA Hurts or Tagovailoa
Competing in position battles are always apart of sports, especially Football. For the Alabama Crimson Tide, they are in a key position battle where they are not looking to replace a departed star player. The Tide have an interesting predicament where they must decide on a consistent playmaker and winner in Jalen Hurts or the player that won the 2018 National Championship over the Georgia Bulldogs, Tua Tagovailoa. Despite the friendship and the brotherly bond, Hurts and Tagovailoa are looking to win the starting quarterback position for the Crimson Tide over each other to start the 2018 College Football season.
Since the Championship game, the competition was enjoyable, but now the flair has died down for an unfortunate reason. In the first Spring Training session for the Crimson Tide, Tua Tagovailoa suffered an injury to his throwing hand where he needed surgery. Through a quick rehab process, the explosive playmaking Quarterback, Tua was hoping to get back into Spring Training to compete. This past Saturday, Tua suffered a setback in the recovery process in his throwing hand where he may miss the final scrimmage in the 2018 Alabama A-Day game.
Tua should take a rest before he damages himself even more
Even though this position battle is one of most hyped and exciting battles in College Football, that talk to be tabled until Tua Tagovailoa is healed. A player with a competitive attitude like Tagovailoa has sacrificed a lot to get to the position where he could help Alabama overcome a deficit and beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 National Championship game in overtime. He has to sacrifice more to get to the top level for the Alabama Crimson Tide and beyond. For him to continue his success, he must rest before he damages himself beyond repair.
For Tua to make more of a competitive on-the-field argument against his teammate Jalen Hurts, he must take every caution to make sure his throwing hand is ready. Tua’s attributes as a great strong-arm passer and good runner mix very well with his competitive spirit. When Tua was put in the 2nd half of the National Championship game against Georgia, he passed for 166 yards on 14 completions (out of 24 attempts) 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. After taking a sack on the 1st play of Alabama’s overtime drive, Tua read a broken coverage and toss a beautiful 41-yard game-winning touchdown pass to WR DeVonta Smith. Tua won the heart of many Alabama fans and earned the spotlight of College Football.
Life and fate had different areas in mind when Tua encountered the hand injury and is now suffering from complications. Both Tua and Jalen have different kinds of leadership, but they are both positive. In the end, Tua might have to take the rest of Spring to have his throwing hand heal so he will properly recover and compete against Jalen more efficiently. Tua has to fight another kind of deficit through missed time with the remaining practices and the Spring Scrimmage in front of fans with Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones taking the two full-time position spots. Tagovailoa will have a chance to compete more in the Summer but only if he takes the time to take a break to ensure he heals properly.
Now is the time for Jalen Hurts to win back the fans and air it out
On the other end of the spectrum, Jalen Hurts is completely healthy and has a lot to prove to maintain the starting Quarterback. In 2016 with Lane Kiffin as the Offensive Coordinator, the Freshman, Jalen Hurts took over in game 1 and never looked back by passing for 2,780 yards on 240 completions (out of 382 attempts), 23 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. He also rushed for 954 yards on 191 rushes and 13 touchdowns on the ground. Hurts was the explosive dual-threat Quarterback Kiffin needed to make his offense work. When Kiffin departed for Florida Atlantic, former New England Patriots assistant Brian Daboll took over and initiated an RPO (run-pass-option) offense based on his preference for Jalen’s style of play. Last season, Hurts was less explosive as a playmaker, but he was as consistent leading his Alabama team to the National Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs. In 2017, Jalen Hurts passed for 2,081 yards on 154 completions (out of 254 attempts), 17 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also rushed for 855 yards on 154 rushes for 8 touchdowns.
Alabama fans that wanted Jalen Hurts to be the next Lamar Jackson, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 based on his high-energy, explosive dual-threat Quarterbacking skills. While Hurts has the talent to match the high statistics of Lamar Jackson and Johnny Manziel, it might be taking away from the real purpose for Jalen Hurts, and that is to win. Ever since Hurts took over at Quarterback, his attitude and goal were to win at every detail.
Jalen does know that with a new Offensive Coordinator (the 3rd non-temporary OC in 3 years for Alabama) in Mike Locksley, he must build his skills as a competitor and a passer due to Tua. While Jalen has an edge the remaining time of spring left to play without the pressure of Tua next to him. What Jalen must do is step his game up and perform in front of coaches and eventually fans with his leadership and passing on full display.
The world has seen what Jalen can do with his legs as an elusive runner, but he must show how well he has progressed as a passer. Opposing teams have learned that Jalen is not the prestigious passer that Lamar Jackson and Johnny Manziel were. He has many great attributes that define him as a fine Quarterback such as accuracy, great decision making, and the ability to throw into tight windows. What he must show is how well he has progressed as a passer, with consistency as a deep thrower deeper, and the determination to trust receivers down the field. Look for his progress at the 2018 A-Day game this Saturday.