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Mentor of two Alabama LBs weighs in quarterback situation for 2018 season

Alabama quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa (No. 13) and Jalen Hurts (No. 2) taking reps in 2017 spring practice: Alicia Devine - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

During their time at the University of Alabama, Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa have had moments when they won over teammates with their style of play. While the latter enters next season as the favorite to win the job at quarterback, Hurts showed in last week’s Elite 11 pro day event that not only is not backing down but he’s doing everything possible to remain the starter. 

Tagovailoa played in nine games in 2017, but what has given him so much fanfare was his performance in the second half of the College Football Playoff national title matchup versus Georgia. He earned most valuable player after completing 14 of 24 passes for 166 yards with three touchdowns – including a 41-yard strike to Devonta Smith – in a 26-23 win for the Tide. 

In two seasons, Hurts has compiled a 26-2 record.  

When he left the field against Clemson in the 2017 title game (2016 season), Alabama carried a 31-28 lead at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Hurts totaled 40 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions in 2016 and 2017 combined, while winning Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman. Despite him holding the single-season school record for touchdowns (36), it was Hurts’ fear of making a mistake that limited the offense last season. 

A lot has been made on both signal callers, especially conversations on which one should transfer. On Friday, Dezmond Willis of Top Rated Speed and Performance (Prattville, Ala.) joined yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine on In My Own Words to discuss the matter.  

As a mentor to current Crimson Tide linebacker Mack Wilson and former standouts Shaun Dion Hamilton and O.J. Howard, Willis said it’s best for both quarterbacks to remain at Alabama. 

*Willis’ talk on QBs starts at 19:44 mark*

“I think the offensive coordinator (Michael Locksley) can figure something out to where both guys can play,” Willis said on Hurts and Tagovailoa. “Jalen and Tua are brothers and to me, the media is going to try to play this stuff out like a soap opera but Nick Saban knows what to do.” 

“I guarantee you this coaching staff already has something in place,” Willis continues. “If I was either one of them, my advice would be to stay. I would stay racking up those rings and winning national championships. I would not want to transfer and play against those guys and that tenacious defense. But, I respect the way that both guys are handling the situation.” 

With this being noted, Willis understands if one has to leave yet he believes that Locksley, quarterbacks coach Dan Enos and Saban will use both guys. Fall camp should be interesting come August as the Tide looks to win back-to-back titles for a second time under Saban. 

You can listen to Willis thoughts from the podcast via YouTube and subscribing to the Touchdown Alabama Magazine site for the latest news on the Crimson Tide.

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 @CoachingMSmith.

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