HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama football coach Nick Saban is not a fan of contrived controversies especially when it comes to his quarterback.
Despite what he accomplished last season, there have been rumblings among pundits and some fans that Jalen Hurts shouldn’t be Alabama’s starting quarterback heading into his sophomore season.
Hurts won SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors after accounting for 3,734 yards and 36 total touchdowns as a true freshman.
On Wednesday, a reporter tried to ask Saban if there was a quarterback controversy, but Saban wasn’t in the mood.
Reporter: “You’ve reiterated that Jalen Hurts is your starter, but people want to keep saying that there’s a quarterback controversy…
Saban (cuts him off): “Who keeps saying that? You’re the only one saying that.”
It was clear Saban was a little fired up about the question. Throughout the spring and during his media appearances this offseason, Saban has said that Hurts is Alabama’s starting quarterback.
Saban even said it during his first scheduled interview on Wednesday in the main media room. During his opening statement of SEC Media Days, Saban mentioned that Hurts is Alabama’s first returning starter at quarterback since AJ McCarron in 2013.
“I never said that. I don’t know who’s saying that,” Saban said, shooting down talk of a quarterback controversy. “It’s like me saying somebody said it’s going to be a hurricane outside today. Is that right or wrong? I said it so that means I created something that makes everybody panic and it creates news. You go out there and get people excited, interested and afraid.
“Look, we have a lot of competition at a lot of positions, and we’re going to play the best players. I think our players respect that and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to try to develop every player on our team to be the best player they can be.”
Some will get hung up on Saban saying there is “competition at a lot of positions,” but that’s nothing more than Saban wanting to keep every player locked in and preparing as if they are the starter at their position.
That way of thinking benefits Alabama given the fact that most players are one injury away from being forced into action. Still, Saban wants everyone to understand that Hurts is QB1.
“We’re not going to tolerate people making stuff up just to create interest,” Saban said. “Which I understand and respect that’s your job, but it’s not going to happen.”
As the moderator tried to move on with the press conference, Saban continued to joke with the reporter.
“I was waiting for that one, man,” Saban said. “That was like a hanging curveball.”
Nick Saban looking at Jalen Hurts like… pic.twitter.com/kNsXU4FH8G
— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) July 12, 2017
Saban did say that fans should expect Tagovailoa to play in some capacity this fall, however.