Those around college football have heard plenty about Tua Tagovailoa since Alabama’s win over Georgia in the national championship on Monday night.
The freshman quarterback, after not playing a meaningful snap all season, replaced starter Jalen Hurts with the Crimson Tide trailing, 13-0, and orchestrated a memorable comeback against a heralded Bulldogs defense. Even with the odds stacked against him, such as facing 2nd-and-26 after wrongly taking a sack in overtime, Tagovailoa lofted a perfect pass the following play for the game-winning touchdown.
At the Bryant Coach of the Year ceremony on Wednesday night, someone asked Nebraska coach Scott Frost if he would have replicated coach Nick Saban’s decision to yank his proven signal caller. Frost’s response was two fold.
From ESPN staff writer Sam Khan Jr.:
“It was a decision I don’t know I would have been courageous enough to make. That’s the answer you want to hear. The other answer is that he was pretty obviously better and they had 12 games to figure that out and didn’t. Coach Nick Saban is above criticism with everything he’s accomplished, so I don’t mean it that way, but I recruited Tua out of high school and knew what he could do and it doesn’t surprise me that he did what he did. Jalen’s a great player, too. That was a very bold and courageous move and I’m surprised it didn’t happen earlier [in the season].”
Unlike most people weighing in on Saban’s decision, Frost has firsthand knowledge of Tagovailoa’s skillset and college potential. Frost recruited the Hawaii native, who also went to the same high school as former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, when he was the Ducks offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2013-15.