FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Apparently neither Orange Bowl quarterback is 100 percent healthy as of Wednesday.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa personally provided an update on his high ankle sprain that morning, as he answered media questions for 45 minutes just like two other offensive teammates and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. The team arrived in Miami on Dec. 24. Tagovailoa sustained the injury back on Dec. 1 and underwent surgery soon after.
“I’m getting treatment at this moment, but it’s been a lot better,” Tagovailoa said. “If I could grade it on a scale of 0 to 100, I would say it’s at about 80 to 85 percent. So it’s been really good.”
Meanwhile, Kyler Murray was absent from Oklahoma’s offensive media availability that same day because of an undisclosed illness. Kicker Austin Seibert filled in for him last minute. Murray still practiced that afternoon.
“Yeah, I just heard that this morning,” OU co-offensive coordinator Cale Gundy said. “So I’m sure the doctors probably got with him and probably thought it was best to get a little rest before practice.”
Murray was this season’s Heisman Trophy winner, beating out Tagovailoa of all people. Murray has completed 241 of his 340 passes (70.9 percent) for 4,053 yards, 40 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has also rushed for 892 yards and 11 scores.
The Sooners’ backup quarterback is Austin Kendall. He has played in just five games, connecting 12 of his 17 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. He has 21 rushing yards.
Jalen Hurts is behind Tagovailoa for the Crimson Tide. Hurts has played in all but two games, and those were due to an injury. He has completed 50 of his 67 passes for 755 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also rushed for 167 yards and two scores.
Tagovailoa has hit 199 of his 294 passes for 2,353 yards, 37 scores and four picks. He has picked up 190 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
“Tua has been able to practice and get all the reps that he’s needed to get,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday. “It will be interesting to see after having a few days off, with the additional rehab, how that impacts his ability to get closer to 100 percent.”
Air it out
Out of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, Oklahoma is ranked 130th in pass defense. It has given up an average of 291.4 passing yards per game this season. That includes 24 touchdowns.
Alabama is averaging 325.5 passing yards per game to rank seventh in the nation. Its 46 scores through the air come in at second.
“I think overall at the end of the day, it’s all about winning,” Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray said. “So as long as we win, I really could care less how the things shake out.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.