By JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Hurts finally got to give his own take on Alabama’s much talked about quarterback situation.
Since getting benched for the second half of the national title game, the two-year starter with the sparkling record has had to remain silent publicly about the situation. Hurts was blunt in his first chance to speak with reporters since the aftermath of that game in Atlanta at Saturday’s media day.
“This whole spring ever since the game, (coaches) kind of wanted to let it play out and I guess didn’t think it was a thing to let it die down like there wasn’t something there,” Hurts said. “But that’s always been the elephant in the room. For me, no one came up to me the whole spring, coaches included, no one asked me how I felt.
“No one asked me what was on my mind. No one asked me how I felt about the things that were going on. Nobody asked me what my future held. That’s that. So now it’s like when we try to handle the situation now, for me, it’s kind of late, it’s too late, the narrative has already been created.”
The narrative is that he and Tua Tagovailoa are engaged in college football’s most talked about quarterback battle. Then-freshman Tagovailoa came off the bench in the second half to lift Alabama to a come-from-behind win over Georgia, heaving the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime .
And the Jalen-vs.-Tua buzz hasn’t died down. They spoke to separate groups of reporters at the same time not far from each other.
Hurts’ father, Averion, said in the spring that if Hurts didn’t win the job, he’d become the “biggest free agent in college football history.”
Asked at Southeastern Conference media days if Hurts would be with the team for the opener against Louisville, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he had “no idea”.
Then he told ESPN that Hurts later came to him and said he was staying.
Hurts said that’s not exactly how it went down.
“I actually went to talk to him about his comments (from SEC Media Days) on if he didn’t know I’d be here for the first game,” Hurts said. “We had a conversation about that. I was kind of shocked that he said that. Me coming at him and seeing what was going on and all that then, I told him, and I told him in June, that I’d be here.
“It was never a decision that had to be made in regard to me leaving.”
Hurts, who is 26-2 as a starter with two playoff trips, said it wouldn’t make much sense to leave when he’s scheduled to graduate in December.
He didn’t pull too many punches when he did get a chance to talk.
“There’s been a lot of rumors, a lot of speculation about things that have gone on this summer,” Hurts said. “The funny part for me is the people making decisions for me. It’s actually kind of good to see you all (reporters), I kind of feel like they’ve been hiding me from you all. There’s been a lot going on, a lot of things being said. Everybody has something to say, everybody has an opinion. The funniest thing about it is I’ve never said a thing.
“I kept my mouth closed, didn’t say anything to anyone. Regardless, people are believing the things that are being said, it’s hard to believe something when the No. 1 source didn’t say anything.”
That changed on Saturday, while Tagovailoa also talked to team beat writers for the first time in months after missing much of spring with a thumb injury on his left, throwing hand.
He told a group of kids on a trip back to Hawaii that he would have considered transferring if he hadn’t played in the title game. Now he says that was “taken out of context.”
Tagovailoa said he and Hurts don’t discuss the competition.
“We want to be positive because the team looks at that,” he said. “The team looks at what we say (in) the media as well. I just don’t want anything to ruin our relationship, and I don’t think anything between me and Jalen is bad.”