Nick Saban’s review of Jalen Hurts’ performance against Fresno State was expansive and explanatory.
The Alabama coach liked what he saw on film from his quarterback in the 41-10 win. Everything wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t all one player’s responsibility.
“We called some passes to throw the ball down the field and we didn’t have very good protection,” Saban said on Monday. “So is that the quarterback’s fault or is that somebody else’s fault? Some of the conclusions that get drawn are not fair in some instances. Sometimes no one’s perfect, they don’t make exactly the right read or whatever. That didn’t happen much in this game really with either quarterback that played. There’s certain things that we need to improve on as a team in the passing game, and that’s something that we’ll work hard on. The things that we did in the short, quick passes are things that complement our running game and complement what we do on offense, and I think it makes our offense more effective when we can do these things. They’re things that hopefully we’ll be able to continue to do successfully in the future.”
Hurts’ own review was shorter.
“I think I went out there and executed, like I said,” he said. “I don’t look into the stats and all that. The most important stat for me is getting the W, and I think we got that Saturday, so I’m fine.”
The stats said that he completed 14 of his 18 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown while rushing for a career-high 154 yards and two touchdowns. The offense scored four touchdowns and a field goal on six possessions with Hurts at the helm. Saturday was his 15th win as Alabama’s starting quarterback in 16 games.
Saban did suggest for the second straight week that there were some issues elsewhere on the offense that needed to be worked out. That’s not unusual this time of the year, though it’s also not unusual for there to be undue attention on the quarterback.
“If you want to be critical of a guy for rushing 154 yards and think he should not do that so he can pass more, then that’s up to you,” Saban said. “You can do that if you want. But we did pass for 192 yards and I think that’s the kind of balance that we want to create. We’re going to continue to try to help our players play to their strengths and work on any weakness that they have so that they can do better on those things.”
Hurts said on Tuesday that he appreciated Saban’s confidence in him.
He also liked what the offense was able to do against Fresno State, finding rhythm in the passing game a week after Florida State’s defense challenged it. Many of his passes came quickly and were delivered near the line of scrimmage.
“I think it allows you to catch a rhythm,” Hurts said. “We didn’t take many shots in the game, but I don’t think we really had to. When we called them (the deep passes), I probably didn’t have enough time, but we’ll definitely take care of that this week.”
There was one more thing that he liked about the game, too.
“We won,” Hurts said. “I’m happy.”