BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a sports commentary from WBRC Sports Director, Rick Karle:
To: Mr. Jalen Hurts
University Of Alabama... who has gone 24-2 in less than two seasons... and is all of 19 years old... but I digress...
From: A fan who, unlike many, admits that he knows only a fraction of what you know about the sport of football
I hope all is going well in New Orleans as you prepare to silence your doubters- you know, those fans who gripe that if you had made better decisions last January against Clemson and last month against Auburn you would be 26-0 as the starting quarterback at Alabama. Man, some people are hard to please, don't you think? If I were you, I'd be looking to shove a beignet ... whoa, now I'm getting carried away. But really, Jalen, what gives with these people? Once again you have led your team to the brink of a national title and all they want to do is gripe.
I know you will never see this column, as you were so dedicated to making sure that were focused from spring football to the playoffs in 2017 that you swore off social media- you have not Tweeted since last April. That's like Charles Barkley skipping the buffet line since 2014. Oh, and that picture of Clemson's winning TD in last January's championship game against your team? It's been on your personal phone's screensaver ever since: Every time you reach for your phone to text, to call, to SnapChat, there it is: Deshaun Watson to Hunter Renfrow, one second remaining, 35-31 Clemson. Does Hillary Clinton have a screen saver of Donald Trump ever since last November? Uh, no- but the picture of Clemson is there you say, because if motivates you and it humbles you.
What you said yesterday in New Orleans about your critics was priceless: "We all know what's going on. Anybody else who says something is irrelevant to us." Your teammates agree, as Jonah Williams pointed out, "I'm a guy who understands this offense more than 99.9999% people who watch. So I don't know how you can sit there and critique people (like Hurts) who don't understand what they are doing." Jonah Williams for Tuscaloosa mayor!
Coach Nick Saban is all about team identity, and he's key on leaders stepping up. I have found it impressive, Jalen, that you have taken on a leadership role. Man, was that line you had at halftime of the Miss State game a classic. You turned to your teammates in the locker room and said, "I'm driving this bus and the bus is pulling out- you can either get on or get off." And in New Orleans this week? "This is my team... the guys believe in me so I need to lead. I'm nineteen years old and I've grown and matured." Wow, a nineteen year old saying that? When I was a 19-year-old college sophomore I was trying to find ways to get my parents to send me money.
Maybe it will help to quiet some of these boneheaded critics of yours by reminding them what they do have rather that what they don't. You were named the 2016 SEC Player Of The Year as a freshman. This season your team ranks #1 in the nation in interceptions thrown with.. drum roll please... ONE. You have passed for 1904 yards and 15 TD's, run for another 768 yard and 8 scores for a grand total of 2708 total yards and 23 TD's. You are ranked #11 in the nation is passing with QBR of 155.62- and I'm not done!
Your team's offensive numbers are up in several categories over last season:
39.2 Points Per Game 38.8
6.92 Yards Per Play 6.47
465 Yards Per Game 455
Still, you have had a bad taste in your mouth since last January, a taste that is about to from sour to sweet. As you said yesterday when asked about playing Clemson for a third straight year, "It's like if you were to beat me in a video game. I want to play you again, but you probably don't want to play me again." Whoa, Nelly!
Said your buddy Damien Harris when asked about your critics, "What more do you want him to do?" The truth of the matter is that many Bama fans would answer that by saying, "We want him to lead our team to a national title." So Jalen? On Monday night when your team trails Clemson 28-24 with less than three minutes to play, and you face a 3rd and 10 from the Clemson 17 yard line, enjoy dropping back, looking left for Ridley, and then turning on the afterburners. Your TD run that will end just inside the right pylon will give your team a 31-28 win and a trip the national championship game. After a wait that has seemed like an eternity, your critics will be silenced and at last, you can change your screensaver. Won't that feel great?