Disclaimer: I never want anyone to get hurt playing sports. It sucks whenever anyone gets hurt. It is never my intent to see any player of any sport get hurt. : Disclaimer
Tagovailoa is in his 2nd year as a starter. He has played in 2 National Championship games with 1 win. He is one of the most celebrated junior quarterbacks in college right now and most are predicting he will enter the NFL draft at the end of this season. He was second in the Heisman voting last season and won a few player of the year awards and first team accolades as well. Seems like he is pretty good.
So if he still needs practice on the 2 minute drill, maybe he shouldn’t be your starter?
Now I know Nick Saban is not a sooth-sayer. No way Saban could have known that Tagovailoa was going to get hurt. Saban also wouldn’t want Tagovailoa to be hurt. There is no indication that would lead him to think he would get hurt in his hip or any other body part. I am not accusing him of that. And some (like here) don’t think he is to blame at all.
Alabama has plenty of options at quarterback. There are six other quarterbacks on the Alabama roster https://www.espn.com/college-football/team/roster/_/id/333/alabama-crimson-tide . Point of fact, Tua (short for Tuanigamanuolepola) is not even the only Tagovailoa on the roster. His brother Taulia (not sure if that is a full first name or not) is a freshman on the team.
Also, none of those other options have even a scintilla as much experience. Mac Jones has the most as a starter a few weeks ago, fill in on a few games and only other upperclassmen. Particularly running a 2 minute drill.
I assume getting game time experience while your team is up 35 – 7, probably would be useful. Particularly for the 5 other quarterbacks who are all freshmen. Only one of the freshman has even taken a snap during a game, guess which one.
But Saban and his staff weren’t sure of Tua? Really !?!
Saban knows the value of getting experience for young quarterbacks, not just implicitly but explicitly. Tua having some experience during his freshman year had to be integral to him being able to replace Jalen Hurts during the 2017-2018 National Championship game leading to victory. Which to be certain was really just the SEC Championship game with different competitors. But that is a subject for my continuing displeasure with the committee and system (mentioned many times on this blog) so I digress.
I am sure plenty of people will argue that Saban is infinitely more qualified to make these decisions. But how? I am using only logic. I am not blaming Saban for the injury. I am saying that when up by 28 and you aren’t playing him in the second half anyway, now (with over 3 minutes left in the first half) is the time to get his other quarterbacks playing time.
The reality is, Alabama has to stay competitive. I know all is not lost for this team. LSU could easily collapse in their, at the time, last three games. And The Tide could be the west division representatives to the SEC Championship as LSU is the only team in their way. That is why the games are played. And The Tide only scored 3 more points in the game versus “powerhouse” Mississippi State after Tua’s injury.
But Alabama’s schedule has not been very difficult to this point. Some might say it is because they are so talented. Not sure the committee will see it the same. Particularly with a game vs another “powerhouse” in Western Carolina at home. And a finale at Jordan Hare vs Auburn, which The Tide would have had their hands full even with Tua.
I don’t see many former Saban athletes who talk about his compassion. Still Saban has won a ton of games. I have to ask, at what cost? I have never been a fan of Alabama football. And admittedly, they had some down years before Saban. But is that worth dealing with him and his judgment and his revolving door of coordinators?
I do hope Tua gets better. I don’t think he will be in an Alabama uniform ever again. He has shown he is a competitor. I think he will be on an NFL roster soon after the draft. I think it will be much better for his health. Maybe he should advise his brother to make a change too.