Alabama’s journey to reaching the finish line and claiming a second straight national championship fell one second short Monday night against the Clemson Tigers.

A journey that began against USC in Arlington, Texas, with former Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett took a different turn early in that ballgame. True freshman Jalen Hurts entered that season opening game in the first quarter, fumbled his first play from scrimmage but recovered spectacularly in recording two touchdowns through the air and on the ground as part of a 52-6 Crimson Tide triumph.

One week later against Western Kentucky, Hurts made history as just the second ever true freshman to start under center for the Crimson Tide. Until the final seconds against Clemson, Alabama had not experienced the taste of defeat with Hurts at quarterback.

While the true freshman from Channelview, Texas, helped drive the train to Tampa with timely plays, exceptional leadership and the help of an elite defense, trouble signs relative to Hurts’ accuracy and overall passing ability appeared during games late in the season.

On Thursday’s edition of The Blitz, former Alabama fullback Martin Houston examined the overall body of work for Jalen Hurts during his first season as an SEC quarterback.

Houston began his monologue by reviewing some of Hurts’ statistics regarding completions, pass attempts and completion percentage over the course of the 15-game season.

The former Alabama fullback analyzed the point in the season when Hurts’ struggles to throw the ball became a major issue.

“I think that up until the playoffs, it seemed like a switch flipped in Jalen’s head. He was hesitant to throw the ball before we got to the (SEC) Championship Game, but he would throw it and he would throw it earlier, but once we got to the SEC Championship Game and then once we got to the playoffs, he was not going to throw the ball.” Houston said.

Despite the increasing struggles in the passing game for Hurts, Houston reminded listeners of the advantages and weaknesses that affected Blake Barnett during fall camp and early in the season before leaving Alabama.

Later in his monologue, the host of The Blitz highlighted the responsibility that the coaching staff had as far as play calling and developing Jalen Hurts as a quarterback during the season.

Catch The Blitz with Martin Houston every weekday from 6-7 AM on Tide 102.9/100.9 and the radioPup app.