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Hurts vs. Tagovailoa: Opposing coaches break it down

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Herbstreit calls Bama's QB situation 'difficult' (1:55)

Kirk Herbstreit joins SportsCenter before Alabama's spring game to discuss the Crimson Tide's QB battle between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa. (1:55)

It's a question that will resonate throughout the college football world all offseason: Who will be Alabama's starting quarterback in the fall?

Usually, when a defending national champion returns a quarterback who's 26-2 as a starter, it's an open-and-shut case who will man the backfield. But it's anything but that simple at Alabama, where incumbent Jalen Hurts has to hold off sophomore Tua Tagovailoa, who came off the bench in the second half of the national championship game against Georgia to rally the Crimson Tide to their fourth title in seven years.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was never going to make a decision this spring. But as it turned out, there was no decision to be made. Tagovailoa broke his finger in the first practice of spring and further aggravated the injury a few weeks later. He didn't play in the spring game last weekend. Hurts, for his part, was so-so in the spring game, completing 19 of 37 passes for 195 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.

The last thing Saban is going to judge his quarterback race on is a spring game, and he's also not going to be influenced by the comments from Hurts' father, Averion Hurts, who told Bleacher Report his son would be the "biggest free agent in college football history" if he doesn't win the starting job.

How's it all going to play out? ESPN checked in with four head coaches and a defensive coordinator from around the country, and they weighed in anonymously. Just about all of them said they would handle it exactly the way Saban has -- allow the competition to play out until somebody clearly wins the job on the practice field, all the while knowing that one of the quarterbacks could easily transfer before the season starts.