Alabama quarterback and 2016 Honolulu Star-Advertiser All-State offensive player of the year Tua Tagovailoa sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on Monday.
Part of the interview was shown during halftime of ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast. A longer version will be shown on SportsCenter after the game.
Tagovailoa, who has been dealing with a strained right knee for the past two games, is expected to be a full participant in practice this week head coach Nick Saban told reporters on Monday.
The 2017 Saint Louis alumnus is the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy according to betting odds despite not throwing a single pass in the fourth quarter this entire season.
Through seven games for the undefeated, No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide, Tagovailoa has completed 71.5 percent (88-for-123) of his throws for 1,760 yards and 21 touchdowns without an interception. He’s also rushed for 117 yards and two scores.
Below is a transcript of what Tua had to say to Van Pelt in the portion of the interview that has already aired.
SVP: Famously to this point in the season, you haven’t taken a snap in the fourth quarter. At some point later in the SEC season, in Atlanta or in the playoff assuming you get there, you’re going to have to be on the field when it matters. How do you replicate the test and the urgency of what those moments will require?
TT: Well I believe it just starts in practice. We practice hard every day of the week, every week. It challenges us but at the same time we always go in with the mind-set that we’ve got to play for 60 minutes every time. Really, it’s just up to the coaching staff to make that decision on whether we’re going to be in or not.
SVP: I like to kid with Nick (Saban) that if he doesn’t have something to be upset about, something to correct, he’s miserable. You’ve got 21 touchdowns, you don’t have an interception, you have the most yards per attempt in the country. What do he and your coaches have to correct that you’ve done so far?
TT: Well there’s a lot of things that I haven’t done correctly.
SVP: Like what?
TT: A lot of things during the Missouri game. We can take an example, the fumble where I got sacked, the sack fumble, I had a wide open guy coming across. He had a dig route and I kind of held onto the ball too long. I couldn’t see but it was one of those things where it was a timing route and my eyes were focused on the safety, really, and I just didn’t go through my progression quick enough to find Henry (Ruggs III) so it’s just little things like that. We set a standard for ourselves as an offense and so when we don’t accomplish it like we wanted to this past week against Missouri those are things that our coaches look at that we can kind of better ourselves at.
More of Tagovailoa’s interview with Van Pelt will be shown at the conclusion of the 49ers/Packers game.