Clay Travis envisions Nick Saban entering a period of opportunity with Tua Tagovailoa as Alabama’s quarterback. Consequently, the Outkick the Coverage analyst doesn’t see Saban stepping aside as Crimson Tide coach soon.
Recently, Travis spoke to SEC Country and gave a strong prediction for how much longer Saban will remain on Alabama’s sideline. As part of his answer, Travis touched on Saban’s passion for his current role and how jarring retirement might be for the coach.
“I think Saban fears not coaching,” Travis said. “And so I think he is now going to hold on for as long as he can at Alabama. And frankly, if you look at Tua and what they’ve got — the most amazing thing, to me, of Nick Saban’s entire tenure is he has kind of flown in the face of everybody else in terms of dominating without a traditionally dominant quarterback.
“Other than AJ McCarron, there has never really been a quarterback that Nick Saban has had who you thought, ‘My God, this guy is flat-out unbelievable,’ whether it was Greg McElroy, who he won the national title with, whether it was Jake Coker, who he won a national title with. Taking Blake Sims to the playoff [was impressive]. And certainly, Jalen Hurts in that first year, losing the playoff and now bouncing back and winning it with Tua — I think that Tua Tagovailoa has the possibility of being the best quarterback Nick Saban has ever coached.
“What would be exciting to me if I were an Alabama homer … is this opportunity of having a great quarterback to pair with what I think is fair to say is always going to be a really good defense is kind of a game changer for Nick Saban potentially over the next couple of years. … To me, this is something Nick Saban has never had before.”
Travis has made his thoughts about Tagovailoa known before. He recently told SEC Country that Alabama has a much higher ceiling in 2018 with Tagovailoa than with Hurts, who remains part of the Crimson Tide’s quarterback competition after posting a 26-2 record as a starter the last two seasons.
But Tagovailoa dazzled during Alabama’s comeback victory against Georgia in the National Championship in January. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 166 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception to help lift the Crimson Tide from two 13-point second-half deficits after Hurts struggled in the first half.
The arm talent Tagovailoa displayed against Georgia suggests big things are possible for Alabama with him. As Travis pointed out, that potential could keep Saban on Alabama’s sideline for several more seasons.