Tua talks relationship with Saban, NFL prep at Bama
Tua Tagovailoa appeared this week on Fox Sports Radio’s “The Herd” where he talked about his relationship with University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and how the Crimson Tide’s offensive scheme prepared him for the NFL.
Talking to host Colin Cowherd, Tagovailoa explained that his relationship with Saban evolved as his role with the team increased.
When he first arrived on campus, his interaction with the legendary coach was no different than his teammates.
“The relationship I had with Coach Saban was the same relationship any of the other players had,” Tagovailoa said. “If you wanted to talk to him, he was more than available to talk. He was our coach. He was someone we all looked up to especially because of the success he’s had throughout the course of his years at Alabama.”
When Tagovailoa took over the reins of the offense, things between the two went to another level.
“I spent a lot more time with him in his office,” the quarterback told Cowherd. “He wanted more meetings just individually with me. And we’d go about talking about things we could do to help the team. Like things I could say to the team.”
Those meetings became a recipe for success. The Crimson Tide went 22-2 with Tua as a starter.
As for what type of offense he would like to play in as a professional, he says it does not matter because of the preparation he received in Tuscaloosa.
“With the three offensive coordinators I had, we pretty much did everything,” explained the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2018. “We went under center. We were in the gun. We ran the RPO game. We ran play-pass, play-action, rollouts, bootlegs, bootlegs set in the pocket.”
Tagovailoa believes he can adjust to whatever an offensive staff puts in front of him.
“Especially with what’s happening, too, with this whole coronavirus thing,” he said. “Life is all about learning to adapt to change, and that’s pretty much the thing I feel like I would have to do if I made it to the NFL.”
Cowherd repeatedly made the comparison between Tagovailoa and future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees largely based on exhibiting similar accuracy.
Having finished a college career in which he threw 87 touchdowns compared to only 11 interceptions, Tagovailoa credited a work ethic instilled by his father for his passing prowess.
“It started from when I was very young,” he remarked. “Probably at about fourth grade or fifth grade. I would attest a lot of that to the hard work that my dad has instilled in me. The amount of reps and the amount of days that we’ve put in. There would be days when there was no rest throughout the year. Football was year-round for me and my siblings and coaching was 24-7.”
The first round of the NFL draft is scheduled for April 23, a night when most expect Tua to hear his name called by one of the first 10 teams.
When pressed about which team he thinks will hand in a card with his name on it, like most draft prospects, he declined to take a guess.
“I don’t know,” he replied “That’s the scary thing. I’m not too sure where I’ll be living next year. All the teams I have talked to, they have been really, really good so it’s tough to tell.”
While interested teams have scrutinized his medical evaluations throughout the draft process, Tagovailoa is ready to get back on the field.
“You’re playing football you’re not playing badminton or tennis where it’s a non-contact sport,” he explained. “You got to understand you’re going to be taking some hits, you’re going to be nicked up. I believe everyone gets hurt playing the game, whether it’s small injuries, big injuries, a lot of the small things end up occurring to be big things. It’s not something I think about much.”
And he has no problems giving himself a clean bill of health.
“Everything feels good right now,” he touted.
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia