Alabama Football: Nick Saban, Jalen and Tua and a two-QB system

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime and winning the CFP National Championship presented by AT
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime and winning the CFP National Championship presented by AT /

Will Alabama football use a two-QB system in ’18? Why Nick Saban may try and the possibilities of whether it would succeed or fail.

The old adage about quarterbacks is if you have two QB’s, you don’t have one. For some reason, conventional football wisdom is that two-QB systems do not work. There are quite a few examples indicating such conventional wisdom is wrong. Some of them can be found in Alabama football history.

The most recent example of a two-QB system working is 2006 and the University of Florida. The Gators were national champions in 2006 while Urban Meyer used Chris Leak and Tim Tebow at quarterback. Leak and Tebow did not play an equal number of snaps and their roles were very different but they shared the Gators’ QB role.

Steve Spurrier changed QB’s so frequently and so randomly at Florida, being a Gator starter meant little. Spurrier’s capriciousness did not keep the Gators from winning a lot of games.

Andrew Zow and Tyler Watts shared QB duties for Alabama football in 1999. Zow got about 65 percent of the snaps but Watts had more than mop-up duty. The Tide was the SEC Champion that season.

In many of Bear Bryant’s 25 Alabama football seasons, he used multiple QB’s. Bryant loved Tide QB Pat Trammell almost like a son but in 1960, Trammell shared QB duties almost equally with Bobby Skelton. Joe Namath and Steve Sloan shared the job in 1964. In 1965, QB time was split between Sloan and Kenny Stabler. 1964 and 1965 are two more examples of a two-QB system winning a national championship.

Saban used two-QB systems at LSU

Nick Saban used a two-QB system at LSU in 2002 and 2004. He is open to the idea of using one again in 2018. In an interview with Chris Lowe for ESPN, Nick said,

"The most important thing is to play the best guy, and if both guys can play winning football, it’s not out of the question that we’ll find a role for both guys in fairness to both guys. I don’t know that there’s any more to it than that."

There is more …

There is more to it than that, a lot more. Alabama football is fortunate to have two talented athletic quarterbacks who are both exceptional leaders. Losing either one via a transfer would harm the program. No disrespect to Mac Jones but the insurance policy of Jalen and Tua is a luxury available to few teams.

Of course, Nick Saban wants a QB competition this spring and during fall camp. He does not want to name a starter until he must. Even then expect the depth chart to include an ‘OR’ at QB next fall. Multiple packages designed to maximize each QB’s best talents may allow the ‘OR’ to continue well into the 2018 season.

It would not be shocking to see it last all the way to December. Alabama football can win every regular season game with a two-QB system. Some adjustment might be required in the post-season.

Next: Ranking Tide QB's under Nick Saban

Every preseason and most regular seasons, Alabama football fans stress over the starting quarterback situation. The backup is often viewed with a reverence akin to the ‘Second Coming.’ That may not be the case in 2018. Simply because the starter and the backup roles may have little meaning.