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Nick Saban explains Jalen Hurts’ improved decision making, passing mechanics

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts (No. 2) attempting a throw in warmups before Crimson Tide's final scrimmage: Alicia Devine - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Whether it is lifting weights, becoming more vocal or spending time after practice with offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts has done the necessary things to ensure a better sophomore season.  

He’s talked on redemption from a team aspect to ESPN’s Chris Lowe, and throughout the summer he has done a good job of releasing the football on time.

Hurts totaled 954 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns last season, but he’s now showing signs of being a complete player. 

“I think Jalen has developed more confidence as a passer,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said after the team’s final scrimmage. “I still think his ability to scramble is a real asset to him. I think he’s been able to use that better and become an effective passer.” 

Excluding the Crimson Tide’s three postseason games, Hurts’ freshman campaign provided a multitude of strong moments in the passing game – including 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

“When people look at passing efficiency, it’s all about 11 guys and not one,” Saban said.  

“It’s not just about the quarterback. You have to protect and run routes the right way. There is a lot of chemistry between route runners and the quarterback. The timing, decision-making, accuracy, a lot of things that involve a lot of people. And Jalen has certainly improved.” 

Not too many people will dive into the difference; nonetheless, there is a huge gap between pushing to be a starter and actually having to carry out a leadership role. Hurts, a native of Channelview, Texas learned much on the fly in 2016 and he takes that experience into the fall. 

If Saban and the Tide didn’t think he could become a complete player, there would not have been four individuals – Brian Daboll, Michael Locksley, Dan Werner and Chris Weinke – signed to either on-field coaching or off-field analyst contracts. His performance as a freshman won him a lot of respect, but now Hurts wants to truly show that he’s more than just a running quarterback.

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

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