TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the first time since 2013, Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t concerned with a quarterback competition as the Crimson Tide open spring practice.
The bigger issue at the position in Saban’s eyes is the overall lack of experience. With Jalen Hurts winning the job, Blake Barnett, Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell all transferred.
While neither had a ton of game experience, they each had more than a year in Alabama’s system.
“Well, we have one year of experience – all of our quarterbacks combined so that’s more of a dynamic than having the starting quarterback back,” Saban said Tuesday.
Having Hurts back gives Alabama plenty of advantages. Hurts won SEC Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year after accumulating 3,734 yards of offense and 36 total touchdowns.
Despite some of his struggles and the mishaps of Alabama’s offense, Hurts had the Crimson Tide a few seconds from winning back-to-back national championships.
“I think that because we do have a starting quarterback coming back, it’s easier for us to self-assess what we need to do for him, with him, to help him, to coach him so that he can develop in areas that would be helpful to him becoming even more of a complete player – mostly in the passing game,” Saban said. “That’s something that we’re going to work hard on in the spring and also in fall.
“If he could do that and be sort of a dual-threat guy, I think it would be really, really difficult for defenses to defend him.”
247Sports composite rankings listed Tagovailoa as a 5-star prospect and the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class. Tagovailoa, who enrolled in January, out-dueled multiple top prospects to earn MVP honors at the 2016 Elite 11 quarterback competition.
Jones, who enrolled in February, arrived in Tuscaloosa as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the 2017 cycle, according to the 247Sports composite. He chose Alabama over Baylor, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Saban wants their focus solely on improving as players.
“Then the other two guys who are freshmen, they’re going to have to grow into being adequate backups by the fall,” Saban said. “This is the least amount of experience we’ve ever had at quarterback, regardless of having a starter back. But I like all the guys, I like their attitude and I think they all three have a lot of potential to really be good players.”