Before OklahomaThe idea that Hurts is just a running QB started before he entered the transfer portal in 2018. While I don’t think Hurts was a stand out passer at Alabama, I think he was competent. As a starter (2016 & 2017) Hurts averaged 2,430.5 passing yards and 904.5 rushing yards.The narrative that Hurts is only a running QB came to fruition when Tua Tagovailoa took over. In 2018 Tua notched 3966 passing yards proving Tua was a more talented passer. Not only was Tua more talented, he was so talented as a passer that it made Hurts – an adequate passer – look worse than he really was.This false narrative followed Jalen to Norman, but not everyone agreed.“I’ve said it forever and I wasn’t just posturing,” Riley said this week. “I’m not gonna take a guy here who can’t throw. I mean, that’s not gonna happen. Now, the capability, transforming that into doing it, is two totally different things. But watching him and then visiting with him, I didn’t feel like there was anything physically or anything mentally that was gonna keep him from doing very well with it.”If the offensive guru who just produced two back to back Heisman QBs thinks you’re a competent passer, you probably are.
Early 2019After 2 starts for OU, there’s evidence Hurts’ passing ability can become better than “good enough”.In Oklahoma’s week 1 win against Houston, Hurts threw for 3 TDs and 332 yards on 20/23 completions. Now, most of Hurts completions were shorter slants but he did get the chance to air it out on the run to Cee Dee Lamb. In week 2 Hurts threw for 259 yards and 3 TDs on a 77.8% completion rate before getting subbed out for Tanner Mordecai in the second half. Again, Hurts appeared to be more comfortable and began to air it out a bit more. Although, his 2019 performance has been impressive so far, keep in mind Hurts was playing against mediocre defenses at best. We won’t know for sure if Hurts is developing into a true dual threat QB until he throws against a talented defense (probably week 5 against Texas?), but we can be sure he’s improving.
VerdictI’m not sold that Hurts is a top tier passer and I won’t be until at least week 5, but he was never just a running QB. With the help of Lincoln Riley he has the potential to become a true dual threat QB.
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Oklahoma Sooners fan and Co-founder of Saturday Tailgate.