Jalen Hurts Is Too Good Not to See the Field in 2018
We all know the story by now. Jalen Hurts has had one of the most prolific careers in Alabama Crimson Tide history. He quarterbacked the team to back-to-back National Championship appearances. But, when he struggled in the National Championship game back in January against Georgia, Nick Saban made a move that college football fans are still talking about: he benched Hurts in favor of Tua Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa helped lead the Crimson Tide to a huge comeback win and 2017 National Championship. The rest, as they say, is history.
All signs point to the switch being a permanent move. At least, many college football analysts think this is now Tagovailoa’s team to lose. Back in the Spring, the quaraterback race was reportedly an open competition, while rumors of a Hurts transfer swirled. Supposedly, it still is an open competition – for good reason, I think.
But, overall, this is quite an odd predicament to be in. You have a quarterback who went 26-2 in two seasons, and now, he seems to be on the outside looking in.
It’s not just that the guy has won at Alabama, either, though – he’s posted some historic level numbers. From Reddit:
Jalen Hurts is #2 in career touchdowns (61), #1 single season touchdowns (36), #3 in career yards (6,670), #2 in single season yards (3,734), #1 in career yards/game (230 yds/game), #2 in single season yards/game (248.9 yds/game)
He would need 1,429 yards to move into the #2 spot for most career yards
Edit: Hurts is #2 in career rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,809 yards. He needs just 217 yards to pass Harry Gilmer, which he could definitely get this season.
While I don’t see him approaching A.J. McCarron’s 80 touchdowns, 1,429 yards is feasible, even if he doesn’t end up starting. I just don’t see how you have a guy like that on your roster and he doesn’t see the field in 2018. He’s just too good of a football player.
So, the question then becomes how do you use a guy like this?
Well, some have speculated that Saban would actually employ a two-quarterback system. But, I tend to subscribe to the line of thinking that, “if you have two quarterbacks, you don’t really have any.” It just seems like the position is too important, and is too much about timing and rhythm to mess with things like that. We’ve seen what happens to teams that don’t have a true identity. They rarely win consistently. So, I have a hard time fathoming that Saban would roll out a true two-quarterback system.
Now, if you want to say that Alabama’s schedule is so easy that they’ll be up by 40 at the half of every game, and will so switch quarterbacks at halftime, that’s different. But, that’s not really utilizing Hurts’ ability. That’s still reserving him as a backup.
I think the more likely scenario for Hurts, should he stay on the team and should he not win this quarterback competition, is that he takes on a role as a sort of offensive specialist. Think about the ‘athlete’ role kids are billed as in recruiting terms these days.
Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley would be wise to install some special packages designed to capitalize on Hurts’ strengths as a runner. They could line him up in multiple positions – in the backfield, in the slot, catching screens, etc. etc. – scheme to Hurts’ versatility as an athlete. And, yeah – maybe draw up some gimmicky trick plays…whatever it takes to get him onto the field.
Regardless, Hurts is way too talented to sit on the bench for the entirety of the 2018 season.
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley