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Saban firm on Jalen Hurts at QB; says Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones are backups

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since AJ McCarron (2012-13), Alabama football returns a starter at quarterback. During Tuesday’s practice, there was only one line of signal callers and it was led by sophomore Jalen Hurts.

Now at 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, the native Texan intends to build off a year in which he had 2,780 passing yards, 954 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. Upon the end of the session, coach Nick Saban spoke on the quarterback situation. Despite having one year of experience, he remains firm on Hurts as the starter.

“Because we do have starting a quarterback returning, I think it’s easier for us to self assess what we need to better for him to help him develop in areas that will make him be more of a complete player,” Saban said.

“And especially in the passing game. We are going to work hard this spring and in the fall. So if he can do that and be more of a dual threat guy, it will be really difficult for defenses to defend him.”

As for the two popular freshmen in the Crimson Tide’s 2017 signing class – Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones – Saban said both guys will have to grow into being adequate backups by fall camp.

“This is the least amount of experience we’ve had at quarterback, despite having a starter back,” he said. “But I like all three guys and the attitude that they are showing. I think all three have the potential to be great.”

Stephen M. Smith is a managing editor and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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