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Tua’s Availability vs MSU “Game-Time Decision”

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The Crimson Tide QB’s status for the Mississippi State game could be in doubt.

NCAA Football: Alabama vs Duke
Which Tagovailoa has a better chance of playing Saturday against MSU?
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

During Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference to the press, Alabama coach Nick Saban stated that Tua Tagovailoa’s availability for the Mississippi State game will be a game-time decision.

“He’s got soreness in his ankle from playing in the game (against LSU). ... Just like a lot of players this time of year, you’ve got to manage the practice. You’ve got to manage the reps. Just like last week, it’ll probably be a game-time decision as to whether he can or can’t play. ... It’s just kind of day-to-day.”

Tagovailoa looked perfectly fine during his 67 snaps against LSU on Saturday, but was seen noticeably limping as he left the field at the conclusion of the game. The junior sat out of the Arkansas game on Oct. 26, yielding to redshirt sophomore Mac Jones. If the Heisman candidate cannot go versus Mississippi State on Saturday, Jones will undoubtedly get his second start of the season.

Jones completed 18 of 22 passes for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 48-7 romp of the lowly Razorbacks. In seven games this season, Jones is 38 of 54 (70.4%) for 472 yards with 4 TDs and a pick against Southern Miss. He has been sacked only once.

Despite the 4-5 record, the Bulldogs pose an upgrade of a challenge from what the Tide faced against Arkansas. There is no guarantee that Jones will dominate the way he did in his first start. There are many scenarios to ponder but if he does start in place of Tua and the Crimson Tide struggles, it could be an issue in the big picture (i.e. making the Playoff).

Ideally for Alabama, Jones will excel and Bama builds a big lead. If this occurs, another question arises: will Saban play Taulia Tagovailoa? To date, “Lia” has played in three games (Duke, USM, Ark). It would be assumed that Alabama would prefer to secure the true freshman’s redshirt. If he plays against Mississippi State, what happens the following week versus Western Carolina? Healthy or not, there is not much chance of Tua playing too much in that game. Would the Tide burn Lia’s redshirt in a fifth game which also happens to be a cupcake game?

If Lia plays Saturday in Starkville, it is possible Tide fans could see the Alabama debut of true freshman Paul Tyson instead against the Catamounts. It’s also possible Slade Bolden could get some extended playing time at signal caller.

Poll

Would you rather Tua play or sit?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    PLAY until he gets a big lead. He needs to stay sharp.
    (152 votes)
  • 29%
    PLAY for a few series.
    (148 votes)
  • 38%
    SIT, Alabama can win big without him.
    (193 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (see my imparted wisdom in Comments below)
    (11 votes)
504 votes total Vote Now