Virtually every college football program has to deal with an injury to its starting quarterback at some point. Somehow, Nick Saban has never faced a major injury at the position, though the recent issue with Tua Tagovailoa seems like it might get there.
The Heisman candidate suffered a high ankle sprain against Tennessee. Mac Jones finished out the 35-13 victory.
Luckily, if Tagovailoa had to miss time, this is a decent time to do it. The Crimson Tide shouldn't have a major issue with Arkansas this weekend, and then has a bye week, before a potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with LSU on Nov. 9.
Pending Auburn disrupting things, that game could wind up being a de facto SEC West championship game. It would be a real shame if both teams weren't at full capacity for it, or if Tagovailoa was clearly far from 100-percent. Right now, Tua has been told to keep weight off the ankle for four days before they start working towards a return.
For what it's worth, the junior quarterback has reportedly told teammates that he will be back for LSU.
The Tagovailoa issue has Joel Klatt very worried about Alabama in that LSU matchup. It is hard to tell how much benefit of the doubt the team will get from the College Football Playoff selection committee if it was to lose a game without, or with a very injured, Tagovailoa, but if LSU was to win and run the table, it could be a moot point.
He appeared on FS1's Lock It In today, and said that the injury plus Alabama's young, more mistake-prone defense could hurt their ability to win a shootout with the explosive Tigers.
Via Saturday Down South:
“I’m worried for Alabama,” he said. “If Tua’s not 100%, LSU is going to beat them. I really believe that. They start 7 true freshmen this year. They don’t run the ball well. They don’t play good defense like they have the past couple of years. In order to win against LSU, they’re going to have to get into a shootout, and they can’t do that without Tua.”
Alabama has had a very light schedule thus far, but has given up some points to its few decent opponents, like Ole Miss (31) and Texas A&M (28). The Crimson Tide offense has been so explosive that it can win just about any shootout, but it hasn't had to contend with anything like the 2019 LSU attack.
Selfishly, as a neutral fan, I definitely want a Tua Tagovailoa vs. Joe Burrow battle in a few weeks. It would feel like we're being robbed of something special otherwise.