Nick Saban said he isn't in a rush to pick his starting quarterback, and said it's possible that both Hurts and Tagovailoa play.
With Alabama's spring practices just two weeks away, one question stands out as the most pressing for the Crimson Tide: Who will be the starting quarterback when the season opener against Louisville rolls around on Sept. 1?
Jalen Hurts started every game for the Tide last year and threw 17 touchdowns against just one interception, but he was pulled after an ineffective first half in the national championship game in favor of Tua Tagovailoa, who threw three touchdowns to lead 'Bama to a come-from-behind 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia.
Hurts, who has gone 26-2 in two seasons as the starter, will be a junior, while Tagovailoa will be a sophomore. It's a difficult choice, and it's one Saban isn't ready to make just yet.
"The most important thing is to play the best guy, and if both guys can play winning football, it's not out of the question that we'll find a role for both guys in fairness to both guys," Saban told ESPN on Friday. "I don't know that there's any more to it than that."
Saban said he pulled Hurts aside after the national title game and assured him that he'd be an important part of the program going forward. He also said he told both players that no decisions have been made entering the spring.
"All I've told both players is that they're both going to have the opportunity to compete, and that's all any competitor ever wants," Saban said. "We've won with both, and the kids on our team respect both guys."
Whoever does win the starting role will be dealing with a largely new coaching staff. Replacing Brian Daboll, who left for the NFL's Buffalo Bills, at offensive coordinator is Mick Locksley, and both quarterbacks will be working with a new quarterbacks coach in Dan Enos.
There was some speculation that Hurts could transfer, as Tagovailoa—a highly touted recruit who showed remarkable potential in the win over Georgia—is a year younger and could establish himself as the starter. As of now, there is no indication that either player has any intention of switching schools.