New Redshirt Rule Adds Intriguing Potential Twist to Alabama’s QB Competition

I went on vacation and a NCAA went and altered everything.

When my time off began a few weeks ago, it seemed a fait accompli that a NCAA’s Division we Council finally would change a send manners for a better—removing a ability for coaches or jaunty directors to retard a actor from transferring on grant to anywhere that actor chooses. The offer that seemed distant reduction expected to pass concerned a change in a redshirt order that would concede Division we football players to play adult to 4 games in a deteriorate and still redshirt. That order had been a pet plan of American Football Coaches Association boss Todd Berry for years, nonetheless even nonetheless it had a support of many each manager in a country, Berry didn’t seem confident that university presidents, jaunty directors and discussion officials would agree.

But mid by June, Berry’s redshirt offer passed. The send rules—and serve tweaks to them that have nonetheless to be done or competence never be made—have perceived distant some-more attention, nonetheless a redshirt order change will have a many bigger impact. And a initial place that could feel that impact is Tuscaloosa.

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The Alabama quarterback foe stays one of a many fascinating in a sport’s history. Jalen Hurts is 26–2 as a Crimson Tide’s starter, nonetheless he was benched during halftime of a inhabitant pretension diversion opposite Georgia. Tua Tagovailoa, a beginner backup to Hurts, entered and led Alabama to a win and a title. Immediately, we wanted to know that of a dual would start for a Tide in 2018. Spring use competence have given us a hint, nonetheless an damage to Tagovailoa’s throwing palm pushed a head-to-head foe into preseason camp. Meanwhile, Hurts’s father suggested his son would be “the biggest giveaway representative in college football history” should he confirm to transfer, and that comment substantially isn’t distant from a truth. Both quarterbacks’ families were savvy adequate to keep their man out of a conditions that would cost him a year of eligibility, so for many of this offseason a review centered on who would send before Alabama played a initial game.

Thanks to a new rule, there is a trustworthy unfolding where no one transfers before a deteriorate opener opposite Louisville. Saban prefers to drag his quarterback competitions into a season, and now he should have a possibility to see how Hurts and Tagovailoa perform opposite live foe that includes Louisville, Arkansas State, Ole Miss and Texas AM. Here’s how it could work.

Hurts is on gait to connoisseur in December. So he could play in adult to 4 games for a Tide and still redshirt. If, after a few games, Tagovailoa is a transparent No. 1, Hurts possibly could close it down for a residue of a season—with Mac Jones descending to a backup spot—or Hurts could spin a only-in-an-emergency choice if Tagovailoa is mislaid for a season. (Because that also would make Hurts Alabama’s starter, that is his thought here.) If a 2018 deteriorate ends and Hurts has played in 4 or fewer games, he can count that year as a redshirt season. Then, after a season, he could leave as a connoisseur send and play immediately elsewhere with dual seasons of eligibility remaining.

The conditions wouldn’t be so cut-and-dried for Tagovailoa, who as an undergraduate would still have to lay out a calendar year if he played in games in 2018 and afterwards transferred. It’s many smoother for Hurts, and if this conditions works out in a approach described above, it competence yield a template for other quarterbacks who are on gait to connoisseur nonetheless also concerned in quarterback competitions.


Hurts apparently doesn’t have to do this. He competence wish to play out a deteriorate possibly way, or he competence wish to send before a deteriorate starts so he doesn’t face a ghost of withdrawal a group in midseason if he doesn’t win a job. The good news is he has options that will concede him to navigate this conditions in a approach that gives him a best possibility to win a pursuit and doesn’t cost him a deteriorate of eligibility.

The Alabama quarterback foe is an impassioned instance of how this order competence impact a team. Its larger impact could come late in seasons as coaches beef adult their two-deep abyss charts with freshmen who would have differently sat out a whole season. Coaches hated a thought of blazing a player’s redshirt since they indispensable him for one or dual games late in a season. Coaches also hated carrying to play certain players some-more snaps than they should have to save a younger player’s redshirt. Thanks to this rule, a group confronting injuries among a defensive tackles could supplement a beginner into a revolution for a season’s final dual or 3 games. Then a starters wouldn’t have to play each snap—a bad tender from a rival standpoint and a actor reserve standpoint—to safety a youngster’s redshirt.

Also, teams that strech non-Playoff and non-New Year’s Six bowls could play all of their freshmen in a play games. This carrot competence keep a redshirting actor some-more intent during a season. It also could blunt a disastrous impact of maestro players determining to lay out play games by giving fans their initial demeanour during rarely touted recruits whose usually movement has come during use all season. It radically would spin play practices into another open practice—except with a diversion opposite another group during a end.

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It would not, as a opponents feared, concede teams to store good players for 4 and a third seasons. If a cornerback usually plays 4 games his beginner year and redshirts before branch into a star during his redshirt beginner and redshirt sophomore seasons, he’s still substantially going to spin pro after that redshirt sophomore season. With a best players, college coaches still have a vital inducement to use them for an whole deteriorate as loyal freshmen. The players who can minister on a college register nonetheless will substantially never play in a NFL will be a biggest beneficiaries of this change.

This is a singular order that advantages both coaches and players equally. It creates so many clarity that it’s a spectacle it survived a NCAA legislation process. And now it will be fascinating to watch how it changes a game.

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