Alabama Football

How Nick Saban and Alabama will use Jalen Hurts in 2018

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In the state of Alabama, football talk never ceases. For Alabama Crimson Tide fans, the conversation(s) around current starting quarterback Jalen Hurts and whether or not he will remain in that position will be never-ending until Nick Saban makes the necessary call to have Tua Tagovailoa be the guy moving forward. When this happens, fans will wonder until the fall just how Saban and new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will utilize Hurts’ abilities — until now.

For those who remember, I advocated for Saban to use Tua in some capacity for the College Football Playoff Championship against the Georgia Bulldogs. For all of Hurts’ positives, the obvious negatives centered around his passing ability and more specifically, reading the defense, were too much to ignore. With how well Tua played in the second half of that game, it behooves Saban to not allow a controversy to fester into fall camp as he’s done in years past. Having Hurts receive a specialized package every game will allow him to flourish and better prepare himself for a career in the NFL.

So, here’s how it needs to go:

Remember Braxton Miller? Yes, the former Ohio State quarterback who was moved to wide receiver after suffering a season-ending injury. There was no way, even had he stayed at quarterback, he would make it in the NFL as a quarterback — and he parlayed that move into a 3rd round draft pick in 2016. This goes the same for Hurts. It is incumbent on Saban to move Hurts to a position such as receiver and/or running back to give him the best chance to help this season as well as for years beyond college. Does this mean his quarterbacking days are over at Alabama? No.

Jalen Hurts Fresh Sports Talk

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts surveys the line of scrimmage before taking the snap. Are his days as a starting QB numbered? (Photo by Cedric Mason – Touchdown Alabama Magazine)

My plan is to have Hurts take about 5-10 percent of the first team reps at quarterback each practice. Within these reps, there should be special plays designed to maximize his talents and give the defense another look each game. Will he run? Will he throw? Will it be a trick play? Who knows. Along with having him line up at running back or receiver, his primary position will be that of a specialty player.

The wonderful thing about Saban (as well as frustrating), is that he plays his cards so close to the vest that you never know what he has planned. He very well may have intentions on keeping Hurts as the starter, but also may read this article and have second thoughts (of course). Either way, a decision will need to happen soon, and should Hurts stay, he will find much more success in a specialty role.

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