Sometime between now and next fall, Alabama football needs to know if it can win big games with Mac Jones.
Alabama football fans would be best served to forget about Nick Saban’s unintended, national television broadcasted frustration with Jalen Hurts. Jalen abandoned a pass play which displeased Saban. Nick’s lament was inadvertently picked up by one of the field mics when he said,
After the game, Saban said he was not displeased with Jalen’s performance. Maybe, he was somewhat pleased but he was clearly displeased on the play above. Alabama football fans would have a less stressful summer if we could focus on Nick’s post-game comments and forget his in-game frustration.
Unfortunately, we are not good at forgetting anything that has harmed or could harm Alabama football. There is a QB problem in Tuscaloosa and it is a bigger problem than whether Jalen Hurts will transfer.
Jalen Hurts is an exceptional young man
Let’s go no further before acknowledging Alabama football fans love Jalen Hurts. He is a fine young man whose leadership skills are exemplary. We just don’t love him as a national championship winning QB. Despite Nick’s public comments, fans saw Jalen struggle mightily in the A-Day game. None of his old flaws have been discarded.
What is worse is he exhibited such little confidence. He played tight and tentative. The Alabama football first-team defense played great but with no surprise schemes or calls. Jalen needed better pass protection than he received. That cannot be used as an excuse. Jalen missed a major opportunity to showcase improved decision-making and passing skills.
Who knows what will happen or when. Saban might still try to go with a two-QB system if Jalen does not transfer. But after A-Day it seems only an injury to Tua could lead to Jalen ever starting in another key Alabama football matchup.
A bigger question, and the gnawing doubt that accompanies it, is on the minds of Tide fans. Can Alabama football win big games with Mac? As much as we want an answer, there is no way to know yet. Mac Jones did not play against the first defense on Saturday. Had he done so, his stat line would have been less impressive.
What we want to know is would Mac have gotten the ball out of his hands quick enough (and on target) to minimize QB pressure. We don’t know that because Saban chose to not test it on Saturday. Rotating Mac in with the first-team offense during A-Day would have been tantamount to saying goodbye to Jalen.
Alabama football fans will wait and wonder
So for months, we will wait and wonder. What we believe is that Jalen Hurts is not the QB to lead the Crimson Tide against top defenses. So what happens if Tua goes down and the Tide faces a tough defense? Can Mac carry the Tide? Here is what Saban said after the A-Day game,
We will have to rely on that statement for now, even if it does not offer much assurance. Alabama football has a quarterback problem. That problem is bigger than will Jalen transfer. That problem being, if needed, is Mac up to a championship task?
Whatever transpires with Jalen, we wish him nothing but the best. He made Alabama football better for two years. He may continue to provide a key leadership role for Alabama football.