Down 13-0 at halftime against Georgia during Monday’s national championship game, Alabama coach Nick Saban pulled quarterback Jalen Hurts and inserted freshman Tua Tagovailoa in hopes of lighting a spark for the Crimson Tide offense. Obviously, that move worked out for Alabama, who rallied in the fourth quarter to force overtime and then win the national championship on a stellar throw by Tagovailoa in overtime.

Days later, people are still in awe of Saban’s ability to make that call. Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, while making a stop to collect his latest coach of the year award for his 2017 season at UCF, admitted he may not have been able to stomach making a similar decision. Yet he seemed a tad surprised it took so long or Saban to make the switch.

It was a decision I don’t know I would have been courageous enough to make. That’s the answer you want to hear,” Frost said while in Houston for the awarding of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, according to Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN.com. “The other answer is that [Tagovailoa] was pretty obviously better and they had 12 games to figure that out and didn’t. Coach Saban is above criticism with everything he’s accomplished, so I don’t mean it that way, but I recruited Tua out of high school and knew what he could do and it doesn’t surprise me that he did what he did. Jalen’s a great player, too. That was a very bold and courageous move and I’m surprised it didn’t happen earlier [in the season].”

Jalen Hurts helped get Alabama to two straight national championship games, with just two losses during those two seasons (one of those losses being to Clemson in last season’s national championship game). Despite the record and TD-interception ratio, Hurts was lacking the arm talent necessary to make the kinds of playsTagovailoa showed the potential to make in practices, and Tagovailoa came to Alabama already drawing comparisons to another Hawaiian legend, former Oregon quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.

Since Frost helped in the recruiting efforts at Oregon to scout and eventually offer Tagovailoa a scholarship, he had an idea of what he was capable of doing. Frost’s comments will be perceived as shots fired at Saban, and that may be fair to suggest even though he tried to cool that hot take off a bit by acknowledging Saban is “above criticism with everything he’s accomplished.”

One just has to wonder why it took so long for Oregon to offer a scholarship to a player that reportedly was waiting and waiting for Oregon to make an offer so he could follow in the footsteps of Mariota in Eugene. Oregon’s loss was Alabama’s gain, but a lot of schools can sympathize with that unfortunate reality these days.

[College Football Talk]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.

  • Matthew McCord

    Can’t you just be happy for Nick Saban or you just a little pansy Frost. You can’t accept the fact that you know where the real national champs and y’all are some chump runner-up that’s not even in a power 5 conference. And you’ll never be the coach that Saban is and where do you get off have a room to talk about what he should or shouldn’t do . come back to me you know when you win a couple of national championships in a row for the Cornhuskers. I mean why would he play tua when we had Jalen hurts that was 24-2 in last 2 years we didn’t need tua until that game but I guarantee you he’ll be the starting quarterback next year. Jalen hurts was having another pretty good year I mean it wasn’t like his freshman year but I mean he got within one play of winning us the national title against Clemson last year we could have three titles in a row. Jalen got us all the way back to the National Title I mean you know his quarterback play against Clemson and our defense was the reason we were there. So go crawl back under your rock you Central Florida kite flying queer. I mean just because you beat Auburn in the Orange Bowl all sudden you have the audacity to run your mouth. your team didn’t play in the playoff cuz they didn’t get the respect they deserve and they shouldn’t. Man I know you’re jealous and you know it’s hard to swallow but you know you just can’t deal with it Frosty. Auburn got hot at the right time especially when it came to playing us but where they hot against y’all no they cooled off and y’all obviously got the best of them, cuz they weren’t hot anymore. they definitely should have beat ya’ll I mean a lot of teams you know want to get to the National Championship or nothing and when they have to play a runner-up game you know sometimes they just don’t give a s*** they don’t care if they win or not they wanted it at all. Just like the runner-up games we’ve played in that we lost because we wanted it all like when we lost to Utah in 2008 & when we lost to Oklahoma in 2014. It’s all about getting hot at the right time and I really don’t see the central nights beating Oklahoma Georgia Clemson or Bama y’all would have gotten throttled buy any one of the top four teams. So Enjoy your little make-believe rings and trophy just make sure you don’t put the NCAA Insignia on there.rtr. Frosty the Snowman’s just pissed because you know his team feels like they deserve something that’s not really there you need to come back to reality.well maybe since now frosty you’re it real power 5 school you can get it done with them and come back and win an actual national championship for the Nebraska Cornhuskers but until Central Florida put yourself in position to play for a power 5 conference you know they’re never going get to the real game and when a real championship. So why don’t you come back down to earth and get off your high horse cuz this done Bama is the champ and y’all are some non power 5 Conference team who was undefeated who happened to beat Auburn whoop-dee-doo U have no room to talk Frost and you’re sitting here telling Saban what he should do. Frosty you are tellin Saban what to do because you had one little undefeated season with the Knights of Central Florida. Nick Saban is the greatest coach in the history of college football U think he gives a s*** what you think he should have done regardless we won the National Championship whether he played earlier in the season or now it worked out the way it was supposed to end of story get over it. It was a storybook ending on an incredible year. We are the kings of confetti don’t forget it and college football.

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