Jalen Hurts and Nick Saban respond to quarterback criticismBy Joe Klingbeil | 09/13/2017 7:15pm
Ever since Jalen Hurts assumed the starting job as the University of Alabama quarterback, he has received tons of praise for leading his team under center. But the sophomore signal caller has also received some massive criticism for his play in the passing game.
Nick Saban has defended and continuously raved about Hurts, while he simultaneously has not made his displeasure about the way his quarterback has been portrayed by the media a secret. On Monday, Saban had some criticism of his own.
“Well, I think a lot of things you do are overblown, but I realize why you do it. It’s your job to create news,” Saban said to a room full of reporters. “It’s our job to try to help our guys play winning football. I think different players play winning football in different ways. If you want to be critical of a guy for rushing 154 yards and think he should not do that so he can pass more, than that’s up to you. You can do that if you want. But we did pass for 192 yards and I think that’s the kind of balance that we want to create. We’re going to continue to try to help our players play to their strengths and work on any weakness that they have so that they can do better on those things.”
Hurts has been the first one to admit he has struggled at some points in the passing game, especially near the end of last season. However, since the day he stepped foot on campus and simulated former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in practice almost two years ago, Hurts has been nothing but an asset to the Alabama football team.
“I don’t think this is any more overblown than a lot of other things you do,” Saban said. “If you want to know the truth about it. But I kind of get it. It’s not personal. I don’t mind it. It’s OK. I get it.”
There was talk this season in and out of Tuscaloosa about the progressions Hurts has to make in order for the Crimson Tide to be lethal through the air. After losing offensive coordinators Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, Alabama went to the NFL and hired Brian Daboll away from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots to assume the role as offensive coordinator.
“I think [Daboll’s] coming along,” Hurts said. “I think he’s done a real good job these first two weeks. And I think we’re finding a groove, finding a groove some of what people can do and find a role for everybody.”
Even though criticism of his play seems to be coming from all angles, Hurts has continued to stay focused on winning. And with a little support from his head coach, Hurts puts all of the outside talk out of his mind.
“He has my back, and I’m happy to see that he’s taken that route,” Hurts said. “As a leader, I continue to lead and I continue to win. And that’s what we have to do. We have to win. We’re trying to win and trying to be 1-0 every week.”