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Nick Saban Deserves Full Scrutiny From Alabama Fans for Leaving Tua Tagovailoa in Way Too Long

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 6:  Head Coach Nick Saban talks with Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide as he comes off the field in the first quarter of a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 65-31.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Just as the Alabama Crimson Tide looked like they were bouncing back from last Saturday's loss to LSU, disaster struck.

With about three minutes left in the third quarter against Mississippi State, the Crimson Tide had a commanding 35-7 lead and the game was essentially over. But for some reason, star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was still in the game, and suffered this serious injury upon being tackled.

It ended up being a season-ending dislocated hip, simply a stunning, terrible setback for Bama and their superstar QB.

So of course, the question that has to be asked: why was Tua still playing in a blowout? He just returned from a separate injury last week, so wouldn't the Alabama coaching staff need to be extra cautious with their single most prized asset?

Apparently, coach Nick Saban was going to take Tua out before the play, but the quarterback pleaded to stay in.

But part of a coach's role is knowing when to give players what they need rather than what they want.

There's no excuse here. Saban has complete control over what his team does on the field. The fact that he let a 21-year-old call his own number when the result was already in hand is going to come back to haunt him.

It should, anyway.

Not only did Saban drastically affect Alabama's playoff hopes in one fell swoop, but if this injury is serious enough, Tua's playing future may be in question as well. It's too early to know such details, but for now, the head coach ought to be kicking himself over how Saturday's events went down.