Nick Saban said he had a “positive” discussion with the father of quarterback Jalen Hurts following the team’s scrimmage on Saturday.
Saban was asked Thursday about a Bleacher Report article published earlier in the day. In it, Hurts’ father Averion said Jalen would be the “the biggest free agent in college football history” if he transferred from Alabama. That transfer could happen, Hurts’ father said, if he loses out to Tua Tagovailoa in the race to be Alabama’s starting quarterback.
“Jalen has done a great job,” Saban said. “He’s made a significant amount of improvement. His dad was very positive and I think at the end of the day everyone has career decisions they have to make. Nobody knows what the outcome of this situation is going to bring for us. We don’t want any players not to be able to fulfill their goals and aspirations in our program here. We don’t want that for any of our players.”
Hurts and Tagovailoa are competing to be the team’s starter in 2018 after Tagovailoa replaced Hurts in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game and led Alabama to an overtime win over Georgia. Had Tagovailoa not played in that game, former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said he thought Tagovailoa would have transferred.
Hurts has gotten a head start of sorts in the competition because of an injury Tagovailoa suffered to his left (throwing) hand. Tagovailoa will not participate in the team’s spring game on Saturday and Saban said he recently suffered a setback in his recovery.
“I think Tua is the guy because he wasn’t fully able to participate — that he did a nice job when he was able to play, so no one is disappointed in any way,” Saban said. ” … it’s unfortunate that Tua wasn’t able to get as many reps, that might have helped his — enhanced his knowledge and experience. But he did do a very good job when he was able to practice.”
Saban also joked during his news conference that Alabama would be paying a steep price if he had to cancel its spring game like so many other schools further north have done because of bad spring weather.
“It’s great tradition here,” Saban said. “There’s so many great things that happen on A-Day here. I see people canceling their spring game and that would be like Hari-kari around here. You’d never think of doing that because of all the great traditions we have.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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