Alabama's Sa­ban has no plans to keep Tago­v­ailoa on side­line

Starkville Daily News - - SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL -

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Sa­ban says he has no plans to hold out quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa this week against The Ci­tadel.

Tago­v­ailoa has been both­ered by a right knee in­jury in re­cent weeks and left the Mis­sis­sippi State game af­ter get­ting hit on it. The top-ranked Crim­son Tide hosts huge un­der­dog The Ci­tadel on Satur­day, and Sa­ban said Tago­v­ailoa is "OK" and will prac­tice.

Sa­ban was asked Mon­day if he would con­sider sit­ting Tago­v­ailoa for the game to al­low him to rest the knee.

"No. Why would we do that?" Sa­ban said. "I mean, to say this was not an im­por­tant game or he doesn't need to play? I think we need to do a bet­ter job of the peo­ple play­ing around him, do­ing what they're sup­posed to do so he doesn't get hit. And he needs to do a bet­ter job of stepping up in the pocket and get­ting rid of the ball, which he had sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties to do.

"Some of these hits could be avoided by bet­ter ex­e­cu­tion, and I think that's what we're go­ing to fo­cus on, not try­ing to take a guy out of the game so he can't im­prove or do what he needs to do to get bet­ter."

Tago­v­ailoa sat out the fourth quar­ter against No. 25 Mis­sis­sippi State and was sacked four times in the game. Sa­ban said af­ter­ward the quar­ter­back could have re­turned if needed in the 24-0 win.

Backup Jalen Hurts hasn't played in the past two games af­ter sus­tain­ing an an­kle in­jury against Ten­nessee, leav­ing Mac Jones to get more play­ing time and chances in prac­tice.

"Jalen's day to day. He's def­i­nitely get­ting bet­ter," Sa­ban said. "Tua's OK. He's go­ing to be able to prac­tice, so that's not an is­sue. Mac is get­ting a lot of (rep­e­ti­tions), so I think he's get­ting bet­ter.

"What­ever the guys can do, we're go­ing to have them do and get as many reps for them as we can."

(Photo by Butch Dill, AP)

Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa (13) is helped off the field by of­fen­sive line­man Jedrick Wills Jr. (74) dur­ing the sec­ond half of last Satur­day's game against Mis­sis­sippi State.

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