Alabama coach Nick Saban received his heaviest dose of quarterback questions since fall camp began on Monday. The answers still didn’t elucidate which player will start Saturday’s season opener.
The depth chart distributed before the coach’s press conference listed Tua Tagovailoa/Jalen Hurts as the No. 1 quarterback. Saban did not announce which player would start Saturday. Asked if it should be assumed that Saban would wait until kickoff to announce a starter, the coach demurred.
“I don’t think you should assume anything,” Saban said. “If I’m ready to tell you, I’ll tell you. If I’m not, I won’t. So you can assume that. Is that fair?”
No. 1 Alabama vs. Louisville
When: Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. CT
Where: Camping World Stadium in Orlando
Radio: 95.3 FM, 102.9 FM
He also declined to answer whether the plan included playing both quarterbacks against Louisville.
“Look, none of that’s been decided yet,” he said. “I wish we could talk about something else because I don’t really have anything else to say about it.”
Junior Hurts and sophomore Tagovailoa have competed for the job throughout fall camp. It’s one of several competitions throughout the team that were reflected on the depth chart, though none has drawn as much attention as the quarterback battle.
Neither quarterback has shown the effects of all that attention, Saban said.
“I think both guys have focused very well,” Saban said. “I don’t see guys looking over their shoulder worrying about what the other guy’s going to do. They just try to do a good job when they’re in there, which I think is the best way for them to develop the kind of confidence that they need and focusing on what they can control, which is their performance, not what somebody else does.”
It hasn’t just been local attention or media attention at the position. Senior offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher got questions in the heart of the offseason, miles away from Tuscaloosa.
“People back home in Iowa would ask and I’d just be like, ‘I thought I escaped Alabama for a little while,’” Pierschbacher said. “Family members ask and everything like that, too. That seems to be the topic everyone wants to talk about, obviously.”
Players declined to discuss specifics about the quarterback position, though. Many have answered questions about it continuously dating back to January’s national championship game.
“It’s kind of a repetitive question,” senior outside linebacker Christian Miller said. “It’s the same answer every time. We have two guys that are very talented, both can play and both can help this team out. We’re happy with both those guys. It’s going to be the same answer. I can’t tell you who it is. Both those guys are awesome for our team.”
The competition during fall camp was productive, Saban said. He liked the way both players have handled themselves in the last month and their growth in that time as they prepared for the season.
“Those guys have done a great job,” Saban said. “They’ve both done a good job in fall camp. And, you know, we’re excited about the progress that both guys have made and what they’re capable of doing.”
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