Tua Tagovailoa has lived with Alabama’s disappointing national title game loss to Clemson for the entire offseason.
It’s not something that will go away anytime soon, either.
As the college football world turns its attention from the 2018 football season to the one ahead in the fall, the summer doldrums leave fans with idle time to fill with things like preseason magazines and talk show scuttlebutt.
Those things won’t win or lose football games come September, but they do provide some entertaining moments from time to time. Take this year’s Lindy’s Sports SEC football previous, for example. One of the long-time preview annual publication’s traditions is to call opposing SEC coaches to get them to speak candidly about their conference opponents with the comfort of anonymity protecting them from any public criticism.
Tagovailoa found himself on the receiving end of some pretty harsh criticism from one of the league’s coaches.
“I think Tua needs to humble himself,” the anonymous SEC coach told Lindy’s Sports.
“I think he did some bad things in the bowl game that cost the team because he put himself ahead of the team. He needs to understand Alabama won national championships by playing great defense and special teams and not beating itself. In the national championship game, the quarterback play was atrocious, and some would say the play-calling, too.”
As a sophomore, Tagovailoa threw for 3,966 yards passing and had 43 passing touchdowns compared to just six interceptions. When you factor that he both led the team to a comeback victory in the national championship game as a freshman, only to follow that up by unseating Jalen Hurts as the team’s starting quarterback and winning the first 14 games of the 2018 season, it seems like an unfair critique.
In fact, one could even wonder if the anonymous coach had pure motives when he gave his critique to the folks at Lindy’s. Was Tagovailoa really that bad in the 44-16 loss? He completed 22-of-34 passes (64.7 percent) for 295 yards passing and threw two touchdown passes in a game where he was decidedly outplayed by Clemson freshman QB Trevor Lawrence. But isn’t that at least as much on the Crimson Tide defense? Tagovailoa can’t do it all.
With former Alabama starting quarterback Jalen Hurts out of the equation following an offseason transfer to the Oklahoma Sooners, Tagovailoa will have no lingering questions over his position as the team’s leader on offense.
Expect big things from the Hawaiian quarterback in what figures to be his final season in Tuscaloosa.