Ahead of the Orange Bowl matchup that pits Heisman winner Kyler Murray and Oklahoma against Nick Saban and his loaded Alabama squad, nearly all the focus around the Crimson Tide is related to the health of star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. His ankle injury, which was sustained against LSU and re-aggravated in the SEC title game against Georgia, could be the single most important factor that shifts the balance in the race to make the College Football Playoff final. Luckily for Alabama, Tua was practicing on only a slightly limited basis today.
Tua Tagovailoa, who is recovering from a high-ankle sprain, was at Alabama’s first bowl practice today. While the Bama QB didn’t participate in one footwork drill I saw, he did everything else during the media viewing period. pic.twitter.com/nXSYGc93Jl— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) December 14, 2018
The sophomore quarterback set social media ablaze when he showed up to the Heisman Trophy presentation in a walking boot. With that in mind, today's developments are decidedly positive.
The Jalen Hurts-led comeback against Georgia was legendary, but the gulf in arm talent between the former Bama starting QB and Tagovailoa is as clear as day. Tua has completed 67.7 percent of his passes in 2019 to go along with 3,353 yards and 37 touchdowns against only four interceptions.
Five passing touchdowns. One rushing score.— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 24, 2018
Tua Tagovailoa had an Iron Bowl performance for the ages. pic.twitter.com/HuBsuNuSdm
One practice doesn't mean Tua is completely healthy, but it's still an encouraging sign. If Jalen Hurts is forced to match Murray and that dominant offense, it likely won't turn out so well for the Tide.