Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy knows Nick Saban pretty well. After all, he guided the Crimson Tide to the 2010 BCS national title under Saban’s tutelage.
So when he says he thought Nick Saban was insane for taking out starting quarterback Jalen Hurts in favor of freshman Tua Tagovailoa during the Crimson Tide’s come-from-behind victory against Georgia on Monday night, you know he comes from the right frame of mind.
But McElroy didn’t stop at “insane” in his descriptor of the aggressive decision to remove a quarterback that has a 25-2 overall record for one who has yet to start a game.
“It’s amazing. I feel like that was the boldest move of Nick Saban’s career, by far,” McElroy said during his shown on ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM on Tuesday. “That was the boldest move of his entire career. I know that playing Jalen last year was bold, a true freshman. He’d never done that before — making him the feature guy and the starting quarterback. That was bold, but this was 10 times bolder than that. To pull a starting quarterback on the biggest stage when your backup had never played in a setting anywhere near as big as this. The game was never in doubt any time he was in the game, other than last night in the final 30 minutes.
“To basically say, ‘Hey, look Tua, we need you to pick us up. We’re down a couple of scores and you’re our only hope. Go get ’em.’ That is ridiculous. I mean, insane. It was the boldest move I’ve ever seen.”
At 66, it appears as though Nick Saban is becoming more aggressive in his personnel decision-making the older that he gets. Maybe it’s the wisdom of experience shining through.
No matter what caused the wild hair that brought Tagovailoa into the game, the lasting narrative will be that it worked. And Nick Saban is a six-time national champion because of it.
You can listen to the full clip of McElroy’s take on the decision here:
— ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM (@ESPNUonSiriusXM) January 9, 2018