With his stellar second-half play in the national championship game, Tua Tagovailoa ignited a full-blown quarterback controversy at the University of Alabama. Some even believed he showed enough to take the starting job from Jalen Hurts, who had gone 26-2 as the starter prior to being replaced against Georgia. A small part of Hurts must have believed it as well, because rumors began to swirl he was considering transferring.
The Hurts-Tagovailoa saga became the biggest story of the off season, bleeding well into fall camp, which even caused Hurts to express disappointment in how it was being handled. Head coach Nick Saban did him no favors by stringing him along and continuing to make it known that both he and Tua were competing for the job and that they'd both play in the opener against Louisville, presumably so that Hurts wouldn't transfer.
Finally, on Saturday night, the Crimson Tide took the field with Tagovailoa under center, and he looked even better than he did last January against Georgia. Alabama scored on three of its first four drives, with Tagovailoa throwing for a touchdown and rushing for another, exiting the game with a 21-0 lead. Hurts came in on the Tide's next drive, and he ran just five plays before Alabama punted for the first time all night. When he returned for a second drive the Tide ran six plays before punting again. The apparent nail in Hurts' coffin came when Tagovailoa returned for Alabama's last drive of the first half and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy, giving the Tide a 28-0 lead.
Hurts got a few more opportunities in the second half, but didn't do much to extend the quarterback controversy another week. Tagovailoa went 12-for-16 for 227 yards and a touchdown, and added 26 rushing yards and one touchdown on five carries. Anyone who watched the game would tell you he will likely be the starter going forward.
After the final whistle, ESPN reporter Maria Taylor began her postgame interview with Nick Saban with the question that was on everyone's mind about what "answers" Saban had about his quarterback situation. In other words, she was doing her job, something Saban did NOT take kindly to:
How dare you question Saban about the quarterback controversy he's allowed to linger all the way through his team's 51-14 drubbing of Louisville on opening weekend. To not expect this was coming was mistake No. 1 for Saban, and mistake No. 2, one he's being ripped for, was snapping on Taylor, one of ESPN's rising stars who handled this about as well as you could. To be fair to Saban, this was likely from pent up frustration about being asked about it 24/7 and Taylor just happened to be in the path of his fury, but it was still unnecessary as many pointed out:
If Saban is going to continue to say that he has two quarterbacks, despite one of them clearly outplaying the other, he should probably be prepared for these questions.