We are less than two weeks away from Alabama kicking off the 2018 season and Nick Saban is still keeping his decision about team’s starting quarterback close to the chest. Besides the obvious – who has performed better during camp – recent injuries on both the offensive and defensive sides to the ball could factor into his decision of who starts versus Louisville.
First, the Tide outside linebacking corps has been gutted by injuries to Christopher Allen and Terrell Lewis. Both could be out for the remainder of the season. Earlier this year, Keith Holcombe decided to stick to playing baseball and VanDarius Cowen was released from his scholarship.
When asked about the situation, Saban had some choice words for those who think replacing players is easy at Alabama:
“You think whatever happens we just shit out another player and everything is going to be perfect.”
Colorful, but I would hate to see that actually happen.
Saban is worried and he should be. That’s a lot of turnover at a position vitally important to how his defense operates.
The defense still possesses plenty of talent, but the losses at linebacker place even more pressure on the defensive line to dictate play at the line of scrimmage while also allowing an inexperienced secondary time to learn on the fly.
Add to the injuries at linebacker that of junior offensive tackle Matt Womack. He is expected to be out for up to six weeks after re-breaking a bone in his foot, an injury that kept him out of all 15 of the Tide’s spring practices.
Add that, running back Najee Harris still has his foot in a cast and may or may not be able to go in game one.
How can all of this impact the quarterback situation?
We’ll start with experience and decision making.
Jalen Hurts has two full years of experience which gives Saban an added bonus going into game one. With only one interception thrown all of last year, Hurts isn’t going to force the ball into tight coverage like Tua Tagovailoa might. Hurts is more likely to take off and run. While that can be a good and a bad thing, the likelihood of Hurts making an errant throw is low. Hurts doesn’t panic and will likely take a small gain and punt before doing anything erratic.
Which leads me to the problem.
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