After Tua Tagovailoa's brilliant second-half performance in the national title game last season, Alabama enters the 2018 campaign with a quarterback battle between the sophomore standout and last year's starter Jalen Hurts.
Head coach Nick Saban has declared the competition open, but has stressed to both players that one way to aid their quest for the job is to avoid self-promotion.
"I've told both players, 'You've gotta win the team, and everything you do to bring attention to yourself, or anybody even in your family that brings attention to yourself, you're not doing yourself a service in trying to win the team,'" Saban told Chris Low of ESPN.
Hurts has been the Crimson Tide's starter for two seasons, posting a 26-2 record in that time, but was replaced at halftime of the title game due to ineffectiveness against Georgia. His father, Averion, told Matt Hayes of Bleacher Report earlier this offseason that Hurts would be "the biggest free agent in college football history" if he loses the starting job and opts to transfer.
Tagovailoa came in and led the Tide to the overtime win with a 42-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith. His offseason also came with some off-the-field news. According to Hawaii News Now, the Hawaii native told a classroom of kids that there was a time when he considered transferring last season.
For now, both players remain with Alabama, giving it arguably the best quarterback depth in the country. When it comes to decision time, however, Saban made it clear to both players what he looks for in a quarterback.
"The more you can do in your performance, your leadership, how you affect other people, the relationships you have on the team and the confidence that you develop in other players in your ability to distribute the ball, because that's what the quarterback is - the distribution center of the ball - then that's the guy who's going to have the best opportunity to win the team," the six-time national champion said.
Alabama opens the season against Louisville on Sept. 1.