Lane Kiffin: 'No doubt' Tua Tagovailoa would have transferred if he didn't play Monday

Was Alabama’s insertion of Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup in the second half of the Tide’s National Championship Game win a move for the present and also the future?

Former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said Tuesday on “The Dan Patrick Show” that he had “no doubt” that Tagovailoa would have transferred from the school had he not played in the championship game.

“People that really know what’s going on will tell you that Tua was leaving,” the current Florida Atlantic coach said. “That Tua thought he should have been the starting quarterback and outperformed him in practice and coach never gave him an opportunity.”

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So, Patrick asked, Tagovailoa would leave if Saban didn’t make the switch?

“No doubt,” Kiffin said. “He’s played some, so he’s going to have sit, so he’s going to sit and he’s going to be a four for three. So he’ll sit for a year and have three years to play. He wasn’t going to sit there for another year behind Jalen when he feels like he didn’t to get an opportunity to beat him out.”

Tagovailoa replaced a struggling Jalen Hurts and threw for three second-half and overtime touchdowns as Alabama came back to win 26-23 over Georgia in the College Football Playoff final. Hurts, 26-2 as Alabama’s starter, was the team’s starting quarterback throughout the 2017 season though Tagovailoa did get some playing time.

“There were a lot of thoughts throughout the year that Tua was the best quarterback,” Kiffin said.

We’ll see what happens in the offseason. A similar situation happened at Georgia at the beginning of the season and it’s already resulted in a reported transfer. Freshman Jake Fromm took over as the Bulldogs’ starter after Jacob Eason — the team’s starter in 2016 — got hurt in Week 1. Fromm played so well after taking the starting job that Eason didn’t start the rest of the season.

Tuesday, it was reported that Eason would be transferring to Washington.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, left, speaks next to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during a press conference in Atlanta, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Alabama beat Georgia in overtime to win the NCAA college football playoff championship game. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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