Tagovailoa started in Alabama's season opener against Louisville over the weekend.

By Jenna West
September 03, 2018

Sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will start again for Alabama in Week 2, coach Nick Saban announced at a press conference Monday.

"Everyone knows that Tua is going to start and we're going to use Jalen [Hurt's] skill set in the future," Saban said, per ESPN's Alex Scarborough.

All summer, plenty of questions swirled around who Saban would name as this season's starter. Saban kept the mystery intact heading into Week 1 by listing junior Jalen Hurts and sophomore Tua Tagovailoa as co-starters.

Saban infamously benched Hurts at halftime in the College Football Playoff final in January to play Tagovailoa, and the Crimson Tide were rewarded as the true freshman rallied them from 13 points down for a 26–23 overtime win.

On Saturday night, Tagovailoa got his first career start against the Cardinals and helped lead the Tide to a 51-14 victory. Tagovailoa threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, while also rushing for a touchdown. Hurts and Tagovailoa split playing time throughout the game.

"Tua is instinctive and got the ball to the right place most of the time," Saban said, per ESPN.

Hurts entered Saturday night's game halfway through the second quarter. Hurts went 5-for-9 with 90 yards and no touchdowns.

The junior had 28 straight starts before Saturday with a 26-2 record. If Hurts appears in four games or fewer this season, he could redshirt and retain this year of eligibility. Hurts is currently scheduled to graduate in December, at which point he could elect to transfer to another school without having to sit out the following year.

Saban said he hadn't considered how the redshirt rule might apply to Hurts.

"Not from my standpoint," Saban said. "I don't know how you can prepare when you pick and choose when you play players. I don't know how a player really can pick and choose when he wants to play and have any respect for his teammates." 

Saban also addressed his abrasive answer to ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor's question about Hurts and Tagovailoa's performance after Saturday's game.

"I could have handled it in a better way," Saban said, per the Associated Press' John Zenor. "But I do think the statement I made before about loving our players and if I get asked to villify a player and make another a crown prince publicly...I need to learn [a] better way to respond to that."

Alabama plays Arkansas in their home opener on Saturday. The game is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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