<
>

Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa not backing away from competition, Nick Saban says

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Two scrimmages into preseason camp, Alabama coach Nick Saban said no decision has been made on the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback and he might not announce a starter before the Sept. 1 opener against Louisville.

"Both guys [Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa] are playing pretty well, so we'll just keep going and see if anybody separates," Saban told ESPN on Tuesday.

The head coach said both QBs are receiving equal reps in practice.

Hurts is 26-2 as Alabama's starter, but Tagovailoa came off the bench as a true freshman last season to rally the Crimson Tide in the second half of the national championship game and threw a game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith in overtime. Hurts, a junior, didn't play as well in Alabama's first preseason scrimmage but rebounded last weekend.

Saban has been particularly impressed with the Tide's collection of talent at running back and receiver this preseason and said he's looking for the guy who can best spread the ball around and "utilize the talents of all those players."

Saban said it's possible that both quarterbacks could play in the first game.

"There could be a role for both of them, but there's been no decision made either way," Saban said. "Just like every position, there's good competition at quarterback, and nobody's backing away from that competition. As much as anybody, the other kids on the team will let us know which one of those guys gives us the best chance to win. The good thing is that we've won with both."

Given some of Alabama's personnel losses on defense to the NFL and key injuries at linebacker this offseason, Saban said this will probably be a "different kind of team" in that the Tide might have to win more scoring battles and not lean on their defense as much.

"That plays a factor, too, because we may have to score more points to win this season than we have in the past," Saban said. "It all fits together."