Alabama Team News

Nick Saban feels that Alabama QB Jalen Hurts was ‘protected,’ not ‘developed’ in 2016

Jalen Hurts 2017 spring practice
COURTESY ALABAMA ATHLETICS

It’s no secret Alabama would like to become a better downfield passing team in 2017. Nick Saban said as much Thursday when he spoke about helping sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts improve this area of his game on “The Opening Drive” on WJOX-FM in Birmingham.

Saban said that Hurts improving as a passer will be key for the success of the Crimson Tide’s offense this season.

RELATED: WATCH: Jalen Hurts makes the day of a big fan with a surprise visit

“Sometimes later in the year when people played us in a way that we needed to be able to throw the ball, we may not have been as efficient as we would have liked to have been,” Saban said. “That was probably our fault as coaches. Because we protected him instead of developed him as a young player.

“The goal this spring and before next season is that we can create more balance by being a better passing team to go along with what we’re able to do with our feet as a quarterback – as well as how that creates balance for our overall offense and utilizes some of the other skill players that we have.”

RELATED: Jalen Hurts: Coordinator transition an ‘adventure’ that includes sessions with Tom Brady

Saban went on to say that the Crimson Tide didn’t “take advantage” of the talent those skill position players possess. He said he feels that new offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll will help accomplish that.

Saban listed the different types of quarterbacks he has had during his time in Tuscaloosa. He mentioned that the Tide had more of a pro-style scheme under AJ McCarron from 2011-13 and then had a similar type of quarterback in Jake Coker during the 2015 season.

The Crimson Tide also has had quarterbacks who can run in Blake Sims and Hurts. He did say that Sims would use run-pass options during his time at Alabama, but was more of a passer.

RELATED: Nick Saban: Jalen Hurts doing ‘much better job’ as passer in spring

Hurts ran for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman. Saban said Alabama does not want to be a quarterback run/spread team.

“That’s not really what we want to be,” Saban said. “We want to be more pro-style as we were, with a mix of the spread. We want a dual-threat quarterback who can make plays with his feet, but maybe not necessarily have a bunch of quarterback runs to enhance the offense. So, I think that’s the goal for what we want to do. I think Brian brings a special skill set of being in the NFL, with a very successful program and offensive team.”

Alabama’s annual A-Day spring game will be held Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. CT.

RELATED: WATCH: Alabama QB Jalen Hurts throws bomb to student on campus

(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)

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