Jalen Hurts must shine against Fresno State for Crimson Tide

The Tide finished 2016 14-1 but it was that lone loss that will either drive or stunt the growth of Alabama’s QB Jalen Hurts. Imagine you’re the starter of a powerhouse program that just won a National Title the year before and famed coach, Nick Saban hands the keys to you. But, the initial whispers were that Hurts didn’t have the arm to lead the Tide to another title. There’s no rule in the NCAA Handbook stating that a QB has to throw for 400 yards a game. That’s not Hurts’ style and it sat well with Saban.

The Tide has rested their laurels on defense and the start to the 2017 season against then 3rd ranked Florida State was no different.

Alabama entered the game with one goal– to win and the Tide did just that but it wasn’t done without a few smirks. The main issue was Hurts. Much like last season, Saban has Jalen Hurts on Pee-Wee Football League playbook. It’s run, run. short pass and then run some more. Luckily for Bama, against FSU, the defense showed up to cover Hurts 10-18 for 96 yards passing performance.

FSU is a nationally ranked team and while Fresno State is not, that doesn’t mean that Bama should take them lightly. If the defense plays the way they did against the Seminoles than the Tide can afford another bad outing from Hurts. But for how long? At some point, Saban will need to really see what his QB can do.

There could be some tweaks to help his progression this season. The first thing Saban must do is open up the offense a bit more. Hurts attempted only 18 passes against FSU but what happens if Fresno has one of those games where everything clicks? Will Saban feel comfortable letting Hurts thrown 30 times? His legs are a weapon but how would defenses defend him if they also had to worry about his arm?

I may be asking for a lot here but I watched Hurts play last year and I saw some of the struggles and the limitations applied to his approach. The offense was more of a dink pass, run, run and then let Hurts do something magical if he got into a jam. The Tide can take the same approach with him or they can let the failure he had to endure in the title game and the start to this season push him to be the weapon they need.

Jalen Hurts and Bama survived against FSU and by all accounts, the same will happen against Fresno State but what if it doesn’t and the team needs him to be more than Saban is willing to let him be?

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