TUSCALOOSA, Ala.– His leadership qualities and sheer athleticism guided the University of Alabama to a Southeastern Conference championship, a Peach Bowl Trophy and its second berth in the College Football Playoff national title game; however, the passing mechanics of Jalen Hurts suffered down the stretch in 2016.
While he totaled 954 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns to earn the SEC’s Freshman of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year awards, head coach Nick Saban made it clear during his presser on Monday that the Tide’s focus is helping the sophomore quarterback improve his passing.
“We want him (Hurts) to work on his decision making and getting the ball out quicker,” Saban said.
“Not wanting him to look at the rush or drift back into the pocket. We want him reading and having his eyes in the right place, relative to the coverage. He’s been doing a much better job in that regard.”
— Stephen M. Smith (@CoachingMSmith) April 4, 2017
Doom and gloom was not consistently in the cards for Hurts as a passer.
He did finish the year completing 62.8 percent of his throws for 2,780 yards with 23 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Listed at 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, the native Texan and four-star recruit recorded four 200-yard games – Western Kentucky, Kentucky, Arkansas and Auburn – and a 300-yard passing performance against Mississippi State (347) in a 51-3 demolition of the Bulldogs.
Even with offenses vastly changing in college football and Saban understanding the capability of Hurts to extend plays, he said that’s not what the Tide wants to focus on at this moment.
“He’s (Hurts) bought into what we want him to do,” Saban said.
Hurts and the Tide will take to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday for its first scrimmage.