Tide's Tua Tagovailoa seeking to right some wrongs this spring

Tide's Tua Tagovailoa seeking to right some wrongs this spring

March 18th, 2019 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Alabama junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throws a pass during Monday afternoon's spring practice in Tuscaloosa.

Photo by Kent Gidley

Tua Tagovailoa experienced many more highs than lows last football season as Alabama's starting quarterback.

It's just that the lows were mostly at the end.

"I can't think too much about the good because a lot of the bad still stands there," Tagovailoa said during a news conference Monday before the Crimson Tide resumed spring practice. "The biggest takeaway for me from last year would be the things I didn't correct throughout the little games. In games we played against teams that weren't up to our competition, we made a lot of mistakes but got away with it.

"That ended up catching up to us, and I think that's something big that we can all take from as a team."

Alabama's second spring workout Monday lasted two hours, with the Tide practicing in helmets and shorts.

Tagovailoa, a 6-foot-1, 218-pound junior, was cruising to last year's Heisman Trophy until the Southeastern Conference championship game, when he completed just 10 of 25 passes for 164 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions before leaving early in the fourth quarter due to injury. Jalen Hurts entered and rallied the Tide from a 28-21 deficit to a 35-28 win.

After bouncing back with a 24-of-27 performance in the Orange Bowl that included 318 yards and four touchdowns during a 45-34 triumph over Oklahoma and eventual Heisman winner Kyler Murray, Tagovailoa struggled again versus Clemson in the championship game of the four-team playoff. Though he completed 22 of 34 passes for 295 yards against the Tigers and tallied a couple of touchdowns, he also threw two costly interceptions as Alabama endured a 44-16 beating.

"When it gets you, it gets you," Tagovailoa said. "There wasn't enough time for us to recuperate and try to fix it, because they were habits that already had been instilled. This is an opportunity to get better at that."

The struggles against Georgia and Clemson prevented Tagovailoa from becoming the first FBS quarterback ever to post a 200 efficiency rating for a season, with his still-stellar 199.45 clip resulting from 245 completions in 355 attempts (69.0 percent) for 3,966 yards with 43 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Tagovailoa entered last spring vying with Hurts for the starting job but injured his hand on the opening day and was limited for most of the 15 workouts. With Hurts having transferred to Oklahoma for his final season, Tagovailoa is now heading a competition that includes redshirt sophomore Mac Jones and early enrollees Paul Tyson and Taulia Tagovailoa, his younger brother.

"I still have to compete," Tua Tagovailoa said. "It's not time to take time off or relax."

Steve Sarkisian is the third offensive coordinator he has performed under in as many years, with Brian Daboll having worked with him in the 2017 season and Mike Locksley last year. Sarkisian offered Tagovailoa a scholarship in 2015, when he was Southern California's head coach.

Asked what it's like having a younger brother in the quarterback mix, Tagovailoa said, "It's good, but when you come here, it's a business."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.