Alabama QB Hurts working on skills

"It's cool because we're running the same plays he's ran".

When asked whether Brady's supermodel wife, Gisele Bündchen, was present on the call, Hurts just chuckled and said, "I wish".

In fact, Daboll is using Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to help his players learn some plays. But the fact that Daboll has coached these players and coached at the National Football League level for 17 years only gives him more respect around the Alabama locker room.

This time past year, Jalen Hurts should have been in high school but elected to enroll early and compete for the starting quarterback job at Alabama.

Hurts is preparing for Year 2 with a new offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, and fresh-faced backups, and said that process began a day after falling to Clemson in the January 9 title game.

FILE - In this January 7, 2017, file photo, Alabama's Jalen Hurts answers questions during media day for the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Clemson, in Tampa, Fla. He threw for a total of 2,780 yards, with 23 touchdowns and just nine picks. But the passing numbers dwindled down the stretch. "I think we've built a really good relationship in a short time".

Saban hasn't had his starting quarterback return since AJ McCarron in 2013.

"It's like you see the quarterbacks make so much progression during the year, and then it's like they're gone", guard Ross Pierschbacher said.

"I've seen him progress a lot".

Saban said Hurts already is "doing better in those regards" compared to last season, and Hurts agreed.

There's no experience behind Hurts, though. "When he first got here. his first couple practices, I picked him off a couple of times", rising junior safety Ronnie Harrison said with a smile.

That criticism - which has only intensified with the arrivals of four-star early enrollees Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones - has mostly centered around Hurts perceived issues with the mental side of being a quarterback, including making proper reads and adjustments at the line, and not allowing the speed of the game to overwhelm him.

  • Larry Hoffman