Alabama trying to keep Tua Tagovailoa from working 'like crazy'

Christopher Walsh

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nick Saban loves the work ethic of his quarterback. 

But he's also trying to get him to tone it down a little. 

While meeting with reporters on Monday afternoon, Tua Tagovailoa admitted that Saban sat him down last week and suggested that he tone down some of his extra workouts, like the one he did hours after the Crimson Tide's season-opening victory against Duke.

Why? Because a couple of days later his arm started hurting.  

"Yeah, so, after the Duke game, I worked out after Duke game, and then I worked out with the team Sunday, and then Monday we had another lift," Tagovailoa explained. "We're throwing on Tuesday and I kind of felt my arm, it was a little fatigued. 

"Coach Saban ended up talking to me on Wednesday, after Wednesday's practice, and he kind of told me, ‘When did my arm start hurting?” That was the only game we’ve played. So I explained to him what I did after the game and Coach Saban told me that's not the way to go about things, this is how we should go about things. It’ll only lead to, you know, something not good. That's why we have this set up the way it is."

Saban initially talked about pulling the reins a little on the quarterback during his radio show last week. 

However, the question that got him going wasn't about Tua, but his younger brother Taulia.

“I don’t like to compare players, even when they’re brothers,” Saban said. “I think that Tua came in with a very high maturity sort of physically and emotionally, in terms of how he developed and how he improved and how he could stay focused on what he was supposed to do. And I think that’s why he developed so quickly here as a play.

“I think Taulia has a lot of ability, and certainly, we want to try to develop him the same kind of way. And I think they both have a lot of capabilities and a lot of potential. Tua’s obviously sort of fulfilled a lot of that, and I’m sure he’s not satisfied with where he is and works hard every day.

“Sometimes too hard. The guy works out like crazy, and we’re trying to say, ‘Sometimes less is more. You can do too much.’ And that’s Tua’s sort of mentality. So, I think it’s too early to tell. When a guy’s freshman and he first comes in and he’s only been here for a little while to know exactly how that guy’s going to develop and what he’s going to develop into. But I know there’s a lot of potential there.”

Even though Alabama destroyed New Mexico State on Saturday, 62-10, both Tua Tagovailoa and Saban described the passing game as a little "sloppy." 

Tua Tagovailoa makes a throw against New Mexico State
Tua Tagovailoa wasn''t thrilled with his performance against New Mexico State on Saturday.T.G. Paschal/BamaCentral

He totaled 227 yards by going 16-for-24 for with three passing touchdowns, and ran in a fourth before sitting down in the third quarter. 

Tua Tagovailoa’s passer-efficiency rating was 187.4, which was down the previous week, and he used the 25-yard touchdown run as an example of missed opportunity as junior wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was open on the play. 

As for toning things down afterward, Saban's set-down talk did have an impact — somewhat.

"So, taking that into consideration, I did work out after the New Mexico State game but I didn't do do too much, probably more cardio," Tua Tagovailoa said. "Worked out yesterday, Sunday, and we have a lift after this.