No. 1 Alabama preparing for QB Mac Jones’ starting debut

Photo: University of Alabama

Alabama is about to experience life without Tua Tagovailoa — at least for one game.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 8:36 PM

UNDATED (AP) - Alabama is about to experience life without Tua Tagovailoa — at least for one game.

For the first time in two seasons, the top-ranked Crimson Tide are preparing for a game with somebody other than Tagovailoa leading the offense. Mac Jones will take the reins Saturday night against Arkansas while Tagovailoa recovers from a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for much of the Tennessee game.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Mac,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday. “With a week of preparation, I think he’ll do a lot better in this game.”

With Alabama still favored by 33 points over the Razorbacks, the big question is, Will Tagovailoa be back in time for the Nov. 9 game against No. 2 LSU as he pledged to teammates after the Tennessee game ? There is an open date in between games and Tagovailoa is familiar with the recovery process from the procedure he had done on Sunday.

It’s the same injury he suffered in the SEC championship game last season, except to the other ankle.

“There’s no real timetable for his return, but the expectation is he will be non-weight bearing for several days and then he’ll be able to come back as his rehab allows him,” Saban said. “We’re hopeful that in a 10-day period, he’ll be back being able to do active-type rehab, and we’ll see how it goes from there. But these things are pretty unpredictable at this point.”

Tagovailoa has been directing the nation’s No. 4 passing offense and spreading the ball around to a quartet of dangerous receivers, among others. Jones entered against Tennessee with about six minutes remaining in the second quarter and finished 6-of-11 passing for 72 yards.

“I think that he didn’t do anything that really hurt us in the game,” Saban said. “I think that he had two balls that were dropped, that were critical situations in the game. The one play that he scrambled on third down where he could have thrown the ball, I would assume that if you asked him he’d say, ‘I wish I would have thrown the ball,’ because we would have made a first down and the guy was open.

“All in all, I thought he handled the situation really well. It’s a difficult circumstance to get thrown into.”

Jones was the third-teamer behind Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts last season, but a number of lopsided games did get him some action in mop-up duties. He was 5-of-13 passing for 123 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

“I think a lot of people underestimate Mac Jones,” Tide tight end Miller Forristall said. “I don’t think they know how good he’s gonna be or how good he is. That’s something where it’s always been that, ‘What’s going to happen after Tua?’ Mac Jones is really good.”

There could still be a Tagovailoa playing quarterback for the Tide at some point in this game. Tua’s younger brother, Tualia, will be the backup to Jones.

The freshman, who enrolled in January and went through spring practice, completed his only college pass attempt for a 20-yard gain.

“He’s got a lot of talent,” Saban said. “We’ve tried to get him some reps throughout the course of the year in case this happened. So it’s going to be really important that we do a good job of progressing him this week as well.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
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Webster19712
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Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1483
Choctaw1264
Benton1240
Franklin1142
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 89927

Reported Deaths: 1580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11650225
Mobile8998191
Montgomery6198143
Madison493225
Tuscaloosa391263
Baldwin317522
Shelby300232
Marshall294730
Unassigned263351
Lee249140
Morgan220615
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DeKalb167713
Elmore158437
Calhoun15359
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Houston130912
Dallas128023
Russell12201
Franklin118420
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Cullman111311
Colbert107612
Lauderdale105312
Autauga101020
Escambia96515
Talladega89013
Jackson8163
Chambers81438
Tallapoosa80478
Dale77619
Butler75135
Blount7223
Covington70420
Coffee7035
Chilton6976
Pike6547
Barbour5625
Lowndes54624
Marion53524
Marengo51514
Clarke4849
Hale44925
Bullock43711
Perry4284
Winston42811
Wilcox4029
Monroe3884
Randolph38810
Conecuh37110
Bibb3643
Pickens3639
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Washington31011
Macon30813
Lawrence3060
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