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January 7, 2017
Q. When you see all the attention around here and the fans (indiscernible) your thoughts heading into this National Championship game?
JALEN HURTS: The entrance was really different. A lot of juice surrounding the game. So here it is starting on media day, so I'm sure it'll be something to look forward to tomorrow and the next day. But at the end of the day we're here to play the game.
Q. Many of your teammates faced Clemson a year ago. What did you learn about the Tigers in the last week or two?
JALEN HURTS: Like I said last week about Washington, this team, they're ball hogs. They're fast on defense. Offensively they have a great quarterback. They are overall a really good team and we're going to have our hands full again this week.
Q. How much does it matter (Indiscernible)?
JALEN HURTS: It was kind of a sudden change for me because it's like you've been getting coached by this guy all year and it's a sudden change coming into probably the biggest game of the season. So it's really different, but I think we feel good about the situation we're in, and we all think that he'll do a great job come Monday.
Q. When you say it's different, how do you mean?
JALEN HURTS: I mean it's different, you know. He can't coach like Coach Kiffin. And when I say that, they're all going to do different things. Sark is Sark. He's Steve Sark. Lane Kiffin and Lane Kiffin. So they're all their own person. So it'll be a difference, obviously, because it's different people.
Q. What was your reaction when you first heard that news? I think it caught a lot of people off guard. What did you think about the switch in offensive coordinator?
JALEN HURTS: Coach Sark called me and told me. He was the first one to tell me and I was like, okay, well, let's do it. When he got the job for next year, I told him congratulations and I'm looking forward to working with you. But it just turns out to be that that came a little earlier. But whatever comes we're going to go full speed and hit it as hard as we can.
Q. It was a sudden change, as you say. (Indiscernible).
JALEN HURTS: I mean I know he has a great track record in what he's done. He told me it's like riding a bike. He's back on the bike now and he's going to catch his rhythm Monday. I think he'll do a great job. I'm completely confident in him.
JALEN HURTS: I was in Tuscaloosa watching the game with a few friends, but I obviously had to come in early and be the role of Deshaun Watson. So for me now it's kind of weird. I'm about to play against him now, but last year I was playing that role on scout team. So it's pretty interesting.
Q. Have you talked to anybody (indiscernible)?
JALEN HURTS: We played on it all this season, all the big games we played, all the big conference games we had and the SEC championship and the playoff game. I mean it's just one of those stages for us. We're kind of used to it I guess.
Q. Last week your coach mentioned to the media how frustrating (inaudible).
JALEN HURTS: I feel I could have played a little better, but it wasn't my game to go out there and get loose, I'd say. No. 9 got his fair share and it showed, he played. He played really well.
JALEN HURTS: I mean I don't think -- it comes down to game plan. As a player and a competitor, whatever is called it's my job to execute it, and that's what I want to do. Now, what the head man says, that's on him. But we're just going to do what we're coached to do, do what's called and try our best to execute it.
Q. Your counterpart in this game said (inaudible).
JALEN HURTS: Counterpart. Who is that?
Q. Deshaun. Is that a negative term in your mind?
JALEN HURTS: I mean what I think of it is, you know, you don't like to be called a run-first quarterback or -- you know, there's nothing wrong with being a dual threat quarterback. That's what we are. He's a great dual-threat quarterback. I think I'm an okay one. But I think it all comes down to you don't want to create the image that, okay, he's a run-first guy. You want to create the image that he's a guy -- he's a quarterback that can run when he needs to. That's how I feel about that.
Q. Do you feel like you are a quarterback that can run?
JALEN HURTS: I feel like I'm a quarterback who has the ability to run when he needs to. Obviously when you go into a game and you have different game plans, some quarterbacks end up running more than other games. But that's just how it falls.
JALEN HURTS: Like I said in the classroom, I'm a sophomore. So that feels pretty good to say. But I mean I guess I have some experience under my belt now. I'm not a little kid anymore, and that's how that is.
JALEN HURTS: No. I mean throughout this season I guess I've grown as a player, as a person, as a leader as far as managing all of this stuff and the sudden change in lifestyle.
Q. Is there a difference between hearing one voice primarily in your ear the whole season and now in the latest game? How do you describe what this challenge might bring?
JALEN HURTS: Well, it's a big difference because like I said earlier, you know, you're hearing this voice. You're hearing this guy, you're hearing this guy. And then you got another guy that's coming in. So it's kind of weird. But at the same time it's something that we're going to have to get used to. I mean it's something that I would have to have gotten used to next year because that's what we were going to deal with next year. So I mean with that, it is what it is. We have complete confidence in Coach Sark, and we think he'll do a great job come Monday.
Q. As someone who's not in your helmet hearing those communications on the sideline, what are some of the differences in one voice and the other?
JALEN HURTS: Probably a difference in coaching style and kind of how they approach the game, approach practice as a whole. They're two different people. Lane Kiffin is Lane Kiffin. Steve Sark is Steve Sark. They can't be one or the other. They're going to be theirselves, and they both do a great job. They just do it differently.
Q. What's the difference in their styles? I know it's early with Sark.
JALEN HURTS: Well, Coach Kiffin is more so of a laid-back guy, kind of has to get stuff done attitude, but more so of a laid-back guy. Steve is, he's more of a let's-go guy, giddy up, but like I said, they're both different, but they've both done a great job. Even Steve thus far he's done a great job.
Q. What kind of role does Steve have around you guys this week and how much have you interacted with him?
JALEN HURTS: I was really talking to Coach Morton and Coach Kiffin the most. His role was limited because he was an analyst, so he couldn't really do much. But now he's coaching me to the fullest.
Q. When do you remember first meeting him and what did you think about him?
JALEN HURTS: I really didn't know who he was at first. I really didn't introduce myself to him or meet him. I didn't really know of him. Then it came a point throughout the season where I introduced myself and we kind of talked a little bit. And that was that. But just like when Mike Locksley came in in the spring, I didn't know who he was until we started spring ball.
JALEN HURTS: I mean it is what it is. I mean I'm going to take everything as it comes and deal with it. At the end of the day, whoever is out there, they're going to do the best job they can to win this game.
JALEN HURTS: Just gotta respond from it, you know. I guess a lot of people think I'm down and out. I'm fine. Just gotta go out and play.
JALEN HURTS: By being himself. Being Jalen Hurts.
Q. What do you look mostly for in a coach?
JALEN HURTS: I mean just be yourself. I mean you go into a game practicing certain things, and somewhere a script. Just do your job and you execute your job, I execute mine. It's all a team effort.
Q. You talked a little bit before about the difference of style in between Kiffin and Sark.
JALEN HURTS: I mean in game is in game. Practice is practice. A particular difference? I don't know. Like I said, we have yet to see that. We'll see Monday. But I think he'll do a great job at whatever it is.
Q. You played Deshaun last year, this young team. Do you go in depth when you tried to look at his film and what he does?
JALEN HURTS: I guess Coach thought we kind of resembled each other on the field. Obviously I came in as a 17-year-old. I just look at the card, throw the ball to this guy, this guy, and the quarterback runs, run those. But they thought we kind of resembled each other, so I just came in and played my game.
Q. Was it an eye-opening experience going up against that defense right off the bat?
JALEN HURTS: I learned from it. It matured me early, gave me kind of a head start I would say.
Q. Do you feel like you resemble Deshaun in some way?
JALEN HURTS: We're alike. We both do some really good things. So I guess we're kind of similar.
JALEN HURTS: I'm just going to play my game. I got here being Jalen Hurts, and that's what I'm going to do on Monday, be Jalen Hurts.
Q. Describe your game. What's your game?
JALEN HURTS: I'm the type of player I just have to let the game come to me. As a team just lead them out and execute whatever is called and just do the best I can, lead them.
Q. Would you like to see a game plan that's more wide open (indiscernible)?
JALEN HURTS: I don't have a dream game plan. I mean like I said, this is my first year playing college football, first National Championship, all that. It's all kind of new for me.
JALEN HURTS: Not yet. Maybe after the season, maybe after Monday. Who knows. But as far as now, it's the season. Season ain't over yet. Still gotta finish.
Q. Has being the son of a coach helped you?
JALEN HURTS: I would say that's got me ahead as well. When you come from an environment like that where you're being coached in the car on the way home or whatever it is, that's just the relationship we had. I think it's helped a lot.
Q. How is Coach Saban's style different than your father's?
JALEN HURTS: Well, they have different track records. I mean at my high school we really didn't have the talent to -- we didn't have the talent to compare it to Alabama. But as far as people and how they go about their business, I think they're kind of similar in many ways. When we talk about -- when you talk about me coming in and playing early and all that, I think Coach Saban kind of saw that fire in my eyes and he was able to see, okay, well, all coaches they're going to like somebody that resembles themselves. And I guess he saw that in me.
JALEN HURTS: He's a great player. He can make all the throws. He can run the ball.
Q. What's the bigger impact of this week?
JALEN HURTS: I think it's just a different. I mean difference in practice. Now we're kind of moving around, a little pep in our step. More enthusiastic. Just looking forward to Monday night.
JALEN HURTS: Probably.
JALEN HURTS: Well, I think I was like 7 of 14. And I'm not the type to dwell on the past. That's over with. I think I was like 7 of 14, had two throw-aways, one drop, one illegal procedure or something. But stats are stats. My job is to execute. That's what I'm going to do. Doesn't matter what the stats come out to be. If I'm 7 of 14 on Monday and have 57 yards and we still win, who cares; right?
JALEN HURTS: I mean they're fast, really fast and Mobile defensive line. They have a really good front seven. I see a really good front seven every day at practice, so I kind of know how it feels. But it'll be an interesting one.
JALEN HURTS: Well, they're fast. They're fast and pretty physical. So I think up front we'll have to be ready to play. And I think our receivers will be ready to play too.
JALEN HURTS: Media day is something we have to do, so we do it.
JALEN HURTS: The offense, like I said, Jalen Hurts is going to be Jalen Hurts. Jalen Hurts is going to do what he's done all year as far as preparation and mindset and all that. And I think that's the same -- that's exactly how our offense as a whole feels. We're going to do what got us here: I'm fine. Just gotta play. The dice don't always roll the way you want. You gotta go play.
JALEN HURTS: I mean it is what it is.
JALEN HURTS: It hasn't all year, so why let it now?
Q. What have you noticed about Coach Sark? What stood out to you about him?
JALEN HURTS: He has a really different mindset to me, kind of intriguing, because he's about his business.
JALEN HURTS: Settle me down. What do you mean by that?
JALEN HURTS: He just told me this is what it is, and he told me that he was looking forward to working with me next year. But that came a little early. So I'm just going to take it as it comes, and we've been working really hard all week. So hopefully we'll go out there and play really well on Monday.
Q. Were there moments where you had a bad game or didn't feel like you played your best, what kind of advice did your father give you to settle you down?
JALEN HURTS: I have a high standard for myself. I expect more out of myself than anyone else will. I mean I just -- that's how I go about my business. I think Coach said that Jalen puts pressure on himself or something like that. I don't see it as pressure. I see it as that's just me. That's just who I am. I expect the most of myself, regardless of what anybody else thinks, I know what I'm capable of. I know the sky's the limit.
Q. So you're harder on yourself?
JALEN HURTS: Yeah.
Q. Do you grade yourself?
JALEN HURTS: I mean it just for me, I hate seeing the little mistakes and little critical things that I know can be fixed, but things that I can control. If I can control it, I want to have it right down pat so it'll never happen again.
JALEN HURTS: I just didn't like how we executed as a whole on offense. And I think it all starts with me. And I think this week we have to do a really good job of executing.
Q. How smooth has that transition been with Sark?
JALEN HURTS: It's been smooth. He's about his business. He's really organized in what he wants. He gets out the message more every day in practice. So I think we'll do a really good job with him on Monday.
JALEN HURTS: I think all the guys that come to Bama do that. Started with Henry last year, and Kenyan run around you, run through you. Damien's done it all year. Bo's doing it now. That's what running backs do when they come here. They run the ball hard.
Q. Has really turned on the last two games.
JALEN HURTS: I guess the opportunity, just to get out there and show what he can do. We all know Bo. We know what he's capable of. I guess it's just the first time that you all are getting to see it.
JALEN HURTS: It ain't Jalen Hurts versus Deshaun Watson. It's Alabama versus Clemson. It'll be a great game, a lot of talented guys playing against each other. So I think as a team we're looking forward to it.
JALEN HURTS: I expect them to play their game. Whatever the film says, that's usually what we do. Whatever it is, whatever they do, we have to execute what's called.
JALEN HURTS: Our relationship is building, but thus far he's been very impacting and impacting on the whole offense. You see a different energy around here. You just kind of see it in everybody's eyes. They're looking forward to it.
JALEN HURTS: I mean he's laid back. He's kind of strict but not so much strict. He's coaching -- when we talk about coaching, I've been coached in high school, so you know, all the getting cussed and all that stuff, I'm fine with that because that's what I'm used to. So when you see Sark doing it, it's like, I like that. I like the fire in his eyes. I like the alpha dog mentality he has, the demeanor. He's just that type of guy.
JALEN HURTS: I was. As I got older, I went to -- in middle school I went to the ^ Channelview Middle School I'll say. It's called Alex Johnson. But I went there and after practice I'd go to his practice or whatever it is, and I was just always around the field house. That's where I kind of grew up.
JALEN HURTS: They didn't want me on the field. Nah.
JALEN HURTS: I didn't talk to them much.
JALEN HURTS: He told me I don't remember the exact day, but he called me and told me that, well, you know, I'm going to be doing this Monday or whatever. He told me that he was going to be the guy this week, and I was like, okay, well, let's ride. Let's do it.
JALEN HURTS: I mean here you expect the most. I was shocked I'd say. I was like, wow. But I'm not going to make it bigger than what it is. For me it is what it is. To you all it may be, oh, my God.
Q. Is that unusual?
JALEN HURTS: It is. It's unusual, but it's here now, we can't do nothing about it.
JALEN HURTS: My brother did it his junior year, and my dad was obviously a power lifting coach. So it was one of those deals where, okay, your brother did it, so you're going to do it. I was like, okay. It just turned out to be I was a little stronger than what he was and that I was pretty good at it. So I had a little bit more success with it than he did.
Q. Did you start as a freshman?
JALEN HURTS: I started as a sophomore.
JALEN HURTS: Other than my brother, no.
JALEN HURTS: I guess it gives me a little bit more strength aspect. I'm kind of strong when coming to the lower body. So I guess strength, brings me a lot of strength.
JALEN HURTS: Nothing about improving coming off the Washington game. It's about getting ready to play in the National Championship.
JALEN HURTS: Well, leading isn't something that's forced. You can't force somebody to lead. That's something that's natural, and I think that happened naturally.
Q. What were the kind of things that did it for you?
JALEN HURTS: Nothing specific. Just being myself. I mean I came here and I wasn't the guy coming in. Nobody thought I would do the things that I did. And I came here, and I was myself. I was Jalen Hurts, and Jalen Hurts has slowly started to take over this team and lead.
JALEN HURTS: It's coming along.
JALEN HURTS: I'm fine with it. Y'all you saying it's this and that, this and the other. I'm fine. That's all that matters. I'm good.
JALEN HURTS: That's why we prepare. In practice we've done a good job of doing what he expects us to do, and whatever the sudden changes are, the checks, whatever it may be, I think that's what it is. And we've done a really good job of it this week, so hopefully we can carry that on to the game.
JALEN HURTS: I'm taking it as it comes. It's all a process, and nothing happens overnight. I mean I'm fine with what they have going here. They're going to put me and my teammates in the best situation to succeed. So I'm cool with everything.
Q. Jalen, you said that in terms of being coached by Sarkisian, coached like that in high school and it's a different energy. What's it like? What kind of energy does he bring to practice?
JALEN HURTS: I mean he sparks us. He sparks us all. When we talk about being coached, I remember my dad used to get frustrated because he'll be getting on me or whatever it is, and I'll just kind of sit back and look with a blank face, and he kind of didn't know what to say. And I think a lot of coaches have kind of gotten to that point with me. But I take coaching well. I'm a very coachable kid, so whatever they have in store for me, I'm down for it. I know it's all going to benefit the team in the long run.
Q. You're so young.
JALEN HURTS: There's no secret. Like I said all day, I'm just being Jalen Hurts, just being myself. You can't let the stage change who you are or what you've done. I'm just being myself. I mean I've gotten here being myself. We've gotten here being Alabama, not nothing more than that. So hopefully we can continue to do that on Monday.
JALEN HURTS: I don't know. He's been coaching me. He's coaching us all. The only change is there's somebody different in the seat. There's somebody different calling the plays or making different game plan, whatever it is. But at the end of the day as a player, you have to execute what's called. None of that's going to change. My job hasn't changed. My receiver's job hasn't changed. Nothing changes. Somebody telling me what to do, that's the only thing that's changed.
Q. How much easier (inaudible)?
JALEN HURTS: They're good. I mean when we're down, they bail us out. When we leave money on the table, they come up with something to help us out. They find a way to make turnovers, get in the end zone. They just do a great job of executing what they have called. They're a really good defense.
Q. (Inaudible). How were you able to do that throughout the game?
JALEN HURTS: I don't look at it as -- I don't know, the age factor and all that, I don't see it as that. I see it as going out there and being yourself. I got here being -- you know, when I was being recruited, he didn't recruit me to do nothing more than be myself. And that's what I plan on doing.
JALEN HURTS: I mean I think all players at this level play with a chip on their shoulder. Everybody has a different reason why they're doing it or why they go so hard or whatever it is. Everybody has a different reason. So I think we all play with that chip, that mentality.
Q. That game against Clemson last year, I'm sure you've heard a lot about it. What can you say about the Tigers and what you know about that game?
JALEN HURTS: Well, they're a really good overall team. I mean when you get to this point in the season, that's how it's supposed to be. Really good defensively, fast corners, really good front seven. Offensively they have a lot of talent, great quarterback, great running back. They're just good all around. So we're going to have our hands full.
Q. What's your biggest challenge from that team that you see?
JALEN HURTS: Just gotta go execute our game plan. Like any other team.
JALEN HURTS: I just got here last year at this time.
Q. Is this surreal for you to be here right now?
JALEN HURTS: I mean my dad told me yesterday he said he would never count me out. And that's kind of how I look at it. When people start to realize the type of person I am and see the dog in me, I guess they realize, okay, we can never go against this kid. I always say that I never put a limit on my game. And that's how I go about it. I never say I can't do nothing, I never say we can't do nothing as a team because I know the sky's the limit with us.
JALEN HURTS: I mean we always talk about full quarter. The off-season and the summer, all that, we put a lot of work in. When we look back and think about all the work we put in, it's like we can't let anybody stop us. I mean we have to go play our game. Remember why we're here, remember what your reason is, why you go so hard, whatever it is and just keep pushing, keep pushing.
Q. Jalen a lot of people think Nick Saban is a little bit scary. How do you feel on the sidelines when he has something to say to you. Is he a scary figure?
JALEN HURTS: No. I'm fine with him. The scary factor, I guess that comes in when you don't know the person, but we all know Coach well. We're all cool. So I'm not scared of him.
Q. Notoriously sequels are normally not as good as the first time around. Why do you think this sequel can be better this time?
JALEN HURTS: We just gotta go play. All the superstition and all that, whatever it is, sequels, this is another game, for both of us, for both teams. So we're going to have our hands full. We just gotta go play.
JALEN HURTS: It's going well. I mean we just have to execute, do our part as a team, as players. We have to go out there and execute.
JALEN HURTS: I was with another early enrollee and we were watching the game. We were watching the game somewhere. But we were watching the game.
JALEN HURTS: That over there?
Q. At the airport.
JALEN HURTS: Oh, that was pretty cool. I don't ever put anything on Snapchat or none of that, but I think I did yesterday because it was different. Different getting off the plane and having everybody right there. That was pretty cool experience.
Q. How excited are you to play in Raymond James Stadium?
JALEN HURTS: That's the name of the stadium? Oh. I guess I'm excited. I mean it's the National Championship. We're all looking forward to it.
Q. Have you ever spoken to Deshaun Watson? Do you guys have any kind of off-the-field relationship?
JALEN HURTS: No, sir.
Q. Facing Deshaun Watson, how do you think that helped you get into the system early and have the success you've had this year?
JALEN HURTS: I think the coaches got the chance to see what I was capable of early. Coming in and kind of doing a good job of playing that role against our defense, I think that kind of opened their eyes and, okay, this kid can really play. And I guess ever since we've been rolling.
Q. When you're told to emulate a player like that or pretend to be that player, how do you do that? Like how do you perform as that player? Do you study them?
JALEN HURTS: No. I came in and I just played my game. I guess you're resembled in many ways. So he just told me to -- really didn't tell me to do anything. I came in and practiced, put the No. 4 jersey on and went to work.
Q. How has practice gone this past week with Coach Sarkisian calling the plays? How would you characterize the efficiency of the practices?
JALEN HURTS: I think we've got a lot of good work in. Just need to carry it over to the game, be efficient.
JALEN HURTS: He's a great coach. He's getting it done. Like I said, this is just the beginning of us both. This is probably the first time we've ever worked with each other or whatever. But we're all looking forward to what's in store for us Monday.
Q. Did that give you any uncertainty with you knew that the change was being made to Coach Sarkisian? Did you have any doubts or questions?
JALEN HURTS: No. I think once practice started, everyone's doubts went away. Everybody got comfortable.
Q. What gave you that comfort level, Jalen, with Sark? What gives you that comfort level?
JALEN HURTS: Just his kind of demeanor. He's calm, kind of has that swagger about him. I got bored yesterday and I looked up some of his highlights, and I saw him celebrating, and just to see that, you know, that was like -- it was cool for me to see that because at times I do a little something after I score or whatever it is. But to see him do it, it was pretty cool.
Q. What has communication been like?
JALEN HURTS: I mean we all talk. I talked to Coach Kiffin when he was here. But with him being gone and Coach Sark replacing him, we both have the same relationship.
Q. Is there any ways you'll have to communicate differently during game day?
JALEN HURTS: It won't come to that. Nothing's changed. It's just a different guy calling plays.
Q. How much do they lean on you for things working on the field or working against a particular defense?
JALEN HURTS: I'm the quarterback. So you like to say that it starts with you, everything starts with you. But they look for me to execute and do my job just as I look to them to do the same thing.
JALEN HURTS: Like how they go about theirself. I mean Lang's more so of a laid-back guy in practice, and Coach Sark is enthusiastic guy, kind of electric, brings a different feel to practice. So it's all different for all of us.
Q. Have you seen him jogging and stuff like that, having that kind of energy? What's that add to -- when you've seen him jogging?
JALEN HURTS: It just adds another aspect to us. It's different for us. Coach Kiffin, he has his way of doing things and Coach Sark has his way of doing things. But overall I think both are going to be really great in the long run.
JALEN HURTS: I mean not many.
JALEN HURTS: Probably the one -- probably like three or four. Just casual conversations.
JALEN HURTS: We're comfortable with each other.
JALEN HURTS: Yeah. We're cool. We're cool.
JALEN HURTS: Well, back in the day they didn't take the same drops we did. So I'm looking like, coach, what are you doing here, what kind of drop is this, but football has changed. And they used to drop back and back pedalling. Now they have the regular three-step drop or whatever it is. But I saw him drop -- he dropped a dime. So I can't fault him.
JALEN HURTS: That's not my job. That's something you need to ask Coach Saban.
Q. Would you agree with other players' assessments that practices this last week went a little smoother or faster?
JALEN HURTS: Everybody moved around -- everybody had a pep in their step. Everybody was into it and kind of reinforced what we wanted with the change, I guess, people were forced to lock in. I mean because with me being fine that doesn't mean everybody else is fine just yet. So I think everybody was forced to kind of lock in and handle our business and get ready for the game.
JALEN HURTS: All the stuff that I've done this far, all the stuff that we've done as a team, I think coach given told me that -- or somebody did. I think they told me that you don't realize what you're doing until it's all over. And I think that's one of those deals where whenever my career is over, I'll look back and say, wow. But as of now, I won't say that.
JALEN HURTS: Holloway. What's his first name? Jamal. Jamal Holloway.
JALEN HURTS: I don't. I know he was the first freshman to do it.
Q. You're from Texas. Who was your college team when you were growing up?
JALEN HURTS: I liked Vince Young coming up. I liked LSU a little bit. But I'm here at Bama.
Q. 2009 championship game, Alabama-Texas. Were you watching that?
JALEN HURTS: At the Rose Bowl?
JALEN HURTS: I was. I wasn't rooting for Alabama coming up. But just turns out to be that I'm here and now I have the opportunity to lead the team to a National Championship, so it's --
JALEN HURTS: Well, he's a Houstonator. He went to Madison High School, and coming up in high school we scrimmaged them every year before every season. So I was familiar with their school and where he came from. But he was a baller coming up. He did a lot of good things.
JALEN HURTS: They did recruit me. But they didn't give me the opportunity. Everything happens for a reason.
JALEN HURTS: You go ask him. I don't know.
Q. I think that coach is in Tampa now. We could ask him. So your dad was a coach. How has he helped you this week? Have you spoken with him? I'm sure you have this week. And what have you talked about?
JALEN HURTS: I mean we've talked. But he's never been in my shoes. He's never been on this stage, this platform. So he can't tell me what to expect or how it's going to be. It's not one of those deals. He's definitely encouragement, there to tell me to be myself and just be who you are. And that's what I plan to do.
JALEN HURTS: I have complete confidence in him. I mean I have complete confidence in Coach Saban and all of his decisions. I'm in full support. I mean being the quarterback you're kind of that coach on the field or that's where you want to be, and I'm fine with whatever goes on. It all comes down to execution with me.
Q. When you first came on as quarterback (inaudible)?
JALEN HURTS: To Josh Dobbs?
JALEN HURTS: He's a really good quarterback. He can run, he can throw. I think Tennessee had a really good team this year. But as far as us, hand to hand comparison, I guess we can kind of be placed in the same kind of play style.
JALEN HURTS: I think he'll do what Kiffin did and be on the field. Does he have a history of being in the press box or something?
Q. He's been in the press box during the season.
JALEN HURTS: That's because he's an analyst. Right? He was an analyst.
Q. Jalen, last year, a year ago you were Deshaun Watson in practices. Is it amazing in your own mind to think that a year later you're on the opposite side of the starting quarterback?
JALEN HURTS: It's weird coming into it all. I would have never thought that this would really happen like this. Getting the opportunity to play for a National Championship is really special. A lot pray and hope to be in that situation. But to be playing against a team that you came in early and kind of emulated, that's really different.
Q. Speaking about emulating Deshaun Watson, is your job to try and be like him, do like him (indiscernible).
JALEN HURTS: Well, I didn't -- like I said, when you talk about doing exactly what he does, watching his film, do what he does, knowing his characteristics, I really didn't do that. I came in and played my game and I guess you make similar plays or that's what coach thought. And I just came in and did what I thought I could do, play my game.
JALEN HURTS: No. It wasn't nothing like that.
JALEN HURTS: The first day I got there I practiced.
Q. You practiced as Deshaun?
JALEN HURTS: Yeah.
Q. First day you got on campus?
JALEN HURTS: I didn't know I was going to practice the first day. But I think we left -- we drove from Texas around 5 or so. 5 in the evening, and got there and the next day when we got there, that's when I practiced, got a physical and practiced.
Q. A week before the National Championship game you get on campus and that's your role?
JALEN HURTS: That's my role.
JALEN HURTS: Sometimes on the defensive side, everything is live.
Q. Are you thinking to yourself, what were your thoughts, all of a sudden you're thrust into rolling against Alabama?
JALEN HURTS: I just don't see it as that. I mean I came in and I had to do what I had to do. I gave them a look. You know, I came in and you got A'Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed and Reuben Foster and all those guys. So I came, they're like who is this guy. They didn't know who I was. They didn't have no clue who I was. So when I got there and I started breaking them off and throwing nice passes or whatever it was, they're like, he's running around here and doing all this stuff, and the mentality they had, A'Shawn and Jarran, they're we gotta end this. So they started hitting me. And I got right back up. And that made them want to hit me some more.
Q. So it wasn't like you were intimidated by that at all?
JALEN HURTS: No. I was fine. I mean no. It's a few funny moments I can look back and look on. But as far as all of that, I was fine with it all.
JALEN HURTS: I know it all came down to the wire, really close game, very competitive game. So that was that.
JALEN HURTS: I mean I think everybody has the ability to have the X factor in this game. Recently it's been Bo, Bo Scarbrough, but I think it's whoever just kind of happens to be, whoever number's called they gotta answer.
Q. When you talk about anxiety?
JALEN HURTS: There's no anxiety. Like all the other games, we just gotta go out there and play. We know the coach has expectation of us to go out there and execute and do all that. So that's what we need to go out there and do.
Q. As a freshman, how did you come in and command respect in the leadership position from guys who are older than you?
JALEN HURTS: Well, people lead because others let you lead. That's not something that is, you know, just kind of happens. You can't force that. You can't force leadership. That's something that happens naturally. And when a guy sees something in another guy, he's like I like how he goes about his business, I like how he carries himself. So if that's what he wants to do, lead us.
JALEN HURTS: I didn't change anything about myself. No. I was being myself.
JALEN HURTS: Practice has been faster and kind of more electric, just been a different feel to practice.
Q. The confidence level in the last week, how has it been for you mentally this week?
JALEN HURTS: I'm good. We've been studying a lot and getting ready for this game, so I think we'll all be good come game time.
Q. The height with Deshaun Watson on the other side, is that something (indiscernible)?
JALEN HURTS: I'm just going to be myself. Deshaun Watson is going to be Deshaun Watson. Jalen Hurts is going to be Jalen Hurts. Just gotta go out and play.
Q. Do you feel you're prepared to face the Clemson defensive front^ ?
JALEN HURTS: We just gotta go out there and play. I see a really good defense every day. And I'll see a great defense on Monday. So we just gotta go out there and execute the best we can.
JALEN HURTS: I think we just have to do our job to execute whatever is called. I don't think he'll ever put us in a bad situation. I just think we have to execute as players. Be accountable.
JALEN HURTS: I'll enjoy it when all of it's done. Right now it's about business.
JALEN HURTS: I always wanted to be affiliated with the game and do something that kind of connected to the game. But with me being the leader I am, the person I am, I think it'll be kind of natural for me to coach or get into sports management, whatever it is. I think that'll be natural for me.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports