There is rarely ever a good reason to be critical of Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Since taking over the Crimson Tide in 2007, he has guided the team to six national championships, eight SEC championships, 11 top-ten finishes in the AP Poll and eight top-five finishes. His players rarely get into trouble, and many go on to great success in the NFL.
But after a decision he made Saturday indirectly led to a season-ending injury for one player, Tua Tagovailoa, many are questioning Saban. Some are even calling for his job.
The injury occurred late in the second half of Alabama’s game Saturday against Mississippi State. The Crimson Tide already had a comfortable 35-7 lead against a team they were heavily favored to beat. For some reason, Saban still had his star quarterback in the game. He later said he was planning on taking Tagovailoa out after the drive he was hurt on.
But Saban wanted him to get some practice running the two-minute drill in-game. So, he left him in, and then this happened:
Tagovailoa ended up going to the hospital. After the game, Saban shared what he knew with the media about the extent of the injury:
Later in the evening, the news broke that it was a dislocated hip and that Tagovailoa’s season is over:
Whenever a star player gets hurt, it is not uncommon for the media and fans to blame the head coach for not having the foresight to take that player out before the injury occurred. Such was certainly the case following the injury to Tagovailoa Saturday:
The injury history Tagovailoa now has could potentially have a severe impact on his draft status—if he still comes out this year:
While many fans were not blaming anyone, there were a number of them online calling for Alabama to fire Nick Saban. For most, the loss to LSU was terrible enough, but the injury to Tagovailoa was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. They blamed him for mismanaging Tagovailoa’s injury. Some called it neglect, and a couple even tried to say it was criminal.
But it was, in fact, none of those things.
The injury to Tagovailoa is terrible and unfortunate, but it is also not Nick Saban’s fault. He is not the one that medically cleared Tagovailoa to play. But that does not mean it is necessarily the medical team’s fault either. Injuries are an unfortunate truth that comes with playing a violent game like football.
Some will say that is why Saban should have taken him out. With the game won, there was no reason to have him. But if you play not to get hurt or not to risk getting anyone hurt, then you are better off not playing (or coaching) at all.
Even though the game was well in hand, the starting teams could still get in some valuable work that they can’t get in during practice. From Saban’s comments, it sounds like that is what Saban had in mind. Nick Saban did nothing wrong and does not deserve any blame for the injury to Tagovailoa. Saying otherwise is like saying Saban should have been able to predict the future.
While many have called him an evil wizard over the years, magic like that is not real. If he is a wizard, maybe he can help Texas A&M beat Georgia and LSU, so Alabama can still make the playoffs
Last modified: November 19, 2019 5:07 PM UTC