Alabama Football News

Nick Saban recaps UT, updates two injuries, talks QB plan for Arkansas

Brian Pride - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Tennessee’s head coach, Jeremy Pruitt gave Alabama a physical contest on last week, but the Crimson Tide emerged with a 35-13 win.

Nick Saban recapped the matchup on Monday at the Mal Moore Athletic Facility in front of local reporters and while he was pleased with the toughness his team showed, there are still some more things to clean up for this week. 

Will Reichard (hip) appeared to have re-aggravated a prior injury and per Saban, he will not participate against Arkansas.

Despite the issue coming on an attempted punt, the true freshman has not tried a field goal or extra point since the meeting with Southern Mississippi. 

For Tua Tagovailoa, the junior quarterback had tightrope surgery done to his ankle on Sunday after leaving the field before halftime versus the Volunteers. The process usually takes a two to three-week recovery time (based on the player), but Saban said in the post-game presser that Tagovailoa would miss at least one week. His second turnover of the year came on a forced throw to the end zone, which resulted in an interception from Nigel Warrior of Tennessee. 

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Prior to the mishap, Tagovailoa had 155 passing yards. 

“His surgery was successful,” Saban said.  

“There is no real timetable for his return, but the expectation is he will be non-weight bearing for several days and then he’ll be able to come back as his rehab allows him. So, we are hopeful that in a 10-day period, he’ll back to doing a pretty active type rehab. We’ll see how it goes from there.” 

When it came to Mac Jones stepping in to replace Tagovailoa in the second half, Saban said the sophomore did not do anything to hurt the team in the game– despite not getting the pep talk from his coach before stepping into the huddle.  

“He had two balls that were dropped and those were critical situations in the game,” Saban said of Jones’ performance. “The one play where he scrambled on third down when he could have thrown the ball, I would assume that if you asked him… he would probably say I should have thrown it. All in all, I thought he handled the situation well. It is a difficult circumstance to get thrown into and we have a lot of confidence in Mac. With a week of preparation, he will do better in this game.” 

Jones completed six of 11 passes for 72 yards versus Tennessee, but the Tide is also prepping Taulia Tagovailoa for homecoming action. The four-star has played in two games and with the new redshirt rule, he will have a chance at reps in two more games.

He may not be the effective passer that his brother is; however, the younger Tagovailoa can really extend plays on the field. 

“He is the backup quarterback for this game, so he is an option,” Saban said of Tagovailoa getting work against Arkansas. “He has a lot of talent. We have tried to get him some reps throughout the course of the year, in case this happened. So, it is going to be really important that we do a good job in progressing him this week as well.” 

The Crimson Tide will host the Razorbacks on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN. 

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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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