TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — While the University of Alabama football team will be zeroed in on visiting rival Auburn this week, junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be focussed on some things away from football.
The plan for him is simply to get better.
"We expect Tua to do what he needs to do to get healthy himself," Nick Saban said during his press conference Monday. "We’re trying to get him sort of back into school and doing what he needs to do for school. He knows he’s welcome around here any time, but [only] if he feels up to it.
"I think it’s always uplifting to the team when he’s around. I’ve talked before about his spirit and leadership, having a positive impact on everybody around here and certainly we’d love to see him as much as possible. But he’s also got to feel up to it. The guy’s been through a lot here. We’ll kind of leave that up to him."
Tagovailoa had surgery on his hip a week ago after suffering a major injury at Mississippi State. He was airlifted with a helicopter to Birmingham before the game ended, and was transported to Houston for the surgery.
Tagovailoa managed to make Saturday's game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, where his brother Taulia had his first career touchdown pass during Alabama's 66-3 victory over Western Carolina. He came in on a cart and left during the third quarter.
Redshirt sophomore Mac Jones started and went 10-for-12 for 275 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers.
"Mac’s a good dude," redshirt junior center Landon Dickerson said. "He's always positive, he always has good things to say, he keeps the energy high."