Alabama's Nick Saban unsure if QB Jalen Hurts will remain with team

Saban: Starting QB 'still to be determined' (0:41)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban explains that he's not ready to declare a starting quarterback for this season. (0:41)

ATLANTA -- Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday he's unsure whether Jalen Hurts will be on the roster when the Crimson Tide play Louisville in the season opener on Sept. 1.

Saban said the quarterback battle between Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa is -- like a lot of positions on the team -- "still to be determined." Complicating matters is the prospect that Hurts might transfer.

"I have no idea," Saban said of Hurts' future. "I expect him to be there. I think it's our job to give both players a very fair opportunity to have a chance to win the team at their position. I think that one of the two guys -- obviously, both are capable."

He added: "We certainly would love for every player on our team to stay at the University of Alabama and graduate. Jalen has a great opportunity to do that in December. So, we are hopeful that he will stay there and be a graduate regardless of what his circumstance is as a player."

Saban made the decision to bench Hurts at halftime of the national championship game when Alabama trailed Georgia 13-0. Tagovailoa came on and threw three touchdown passes, including the winner in overtime.

Hurts, who won SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a true freshman in 2016, followed it up by throwing for 2,081 yards, 17 touchdowns and one interception as a sophomore last season. He also rushed for 855 yards and eight touchdowns. He has a career record of 26-2 as a starter.

Tagovailoa served as Hurts' primary backup all season, appearing in eight games. He completed 49 of 77 passes for 636 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Saban said he understands that everyone will want to make his team's quarterback battle a top point of controversy, but he said he's not in a hurry to make a decision and that both players are "capable."

"It's still to be determined who will play quarterback," Saban said. "... We'll have to see who wins the team in fall camp."

Whoever finishes the competition as the backup could benefit from a new rule that allows players to compete in four games without losing the possibility of taking a redshirt and retaining a year of eligibility.

Hurts, who was enrolled early as a freshman, is set to graduate in December and would be able to transfer without having to sit out a year to regain eligibility.

Alabama and Louisville will meet in Orlando, Florida, for the season opener. Like Alabama, the Cardinals begin fall camp without an incumbent starter at quarterback after Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, left school early to enter the NFL draft.