Former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made headlines on Wednesday in South Florida when he met with reporters for the first time since the 2020 regular season finale.
The statements resulted in headlines stemmed from his return from a hip injury that cut down his preparation for his rookies season.
"I think my hip feels 10 times better than it did last year," he said.
"I feel really confident coming into this second year after that injury two years ago.”
Tagovailoa noted that he did not feel he returned to action too quickly and refused to use his hip as any sort of excuse for his non-spectacular numbers. However, even though he went 6-3, he didn't look like quarterback who had lit up defenses at Alabama.
“I think that brings up a lot of ifs and buts," Tagovailoa said.
"What happened last year, it happened. That’s what my rookie year looked like. It wasn’t what I expected. That’s why I’ve been working really hard this offseason to help our team this Year 2 for me but this upcoming season.”
For more about Tagovailoa's offseason check out AllDolphins, but here are ten other comments that stood out from the session:
1] In what ways would you say that your rookie season was not up to your standard?
“I’d say in every aspect – getting to the line of scrimmage, getting that order of operation down, my cadence, pre-snap reads, my post-snap reads. Just the whole shebang with that. I felt I wasn’t comfortable during my rookie year. So I’m just working on a lot of those things in year two to be better.”
2] What is your comfort level now?
“I’d say it’s still a work in progress with all of those things – having the guys hear my cadence, getting the order of operation of hearing the play call in the huddle, getting to the line, shifting guys, moving guys and getting everyone in the right spot. I still think that’s something that I’ve got to continue to work on.”
3] How has this offseason been for you for doubts after your rookie season and trade rumors?
“Really, my focus is just continuing to work on those things that I couldn’t work on last year, which is getting stronger, bettering myself like I said with things off the field and then strength training and conditioning looks a lot different this year than it did last year. I’m trying to get on the field more, trying to be able to move, run, make cuts and then also work with my drop-backs and get some throws in with guys.”
4] Is there any extra motivation for you this year to prove those people wrong or maybe prove the Dolphins right in sticking with you?
“I would say there’s no extra motivation for me. It’s really just playing to the standard and the level of expectations of this organization; but then also the standard that I have for myself, and expectations I have for myself.”
5] Head Coach Brian Flores mentioned your decision to kind of stay in South Florida as opposed to going back to Hawaii in the offseason. Why was that important?
“Yeah, I don’t think it was much of a hard decision. You look at the weather here, it’s year-round weather. I wouldn’t be wasting money to go all the way back to Hawaii. (laughter) Aside from that and visiting family back in Hawaii, I thought it was a very easy decision to stay here and train. I had the opportunity to kind of gather a group of guys – receivers and gather some of the linemen as well – to go over some cadences at the line of scrimmage, what it will sound like this year and kind of have that operation going at the line of scrimmage with the guys. I wouldn’t be able to throw to my guys too if I was all the way in Hawaii. So we’re working on the timing and all of those things that you don’t just wake up and do, as ‘Flo’ (Brian Flores) would say. You don’t just wake up and you’re able to do this. You have to do it consistency and build a discipline to do it.”
6] In terms of conditioning through the whole offseason, where can you see the biggest difference when it comes to throwing the ball and the physical aspect of the position?
“I’d say I can feel it. That’s one thing I can say. Then also from recordings, I can see the difference. But as far as how I feel overall, just physically and mentally, I think I’m at a better stage than I was last year.”
7] Did the hip cause you hesitate last year, and has that gone away?
“To be honest, I wasn’t worried about my hip last year. I wasn’t necessarily thinking of it while I was making throws or was on the run making throws. I just think that coming into this year, throwing it isn’t as much arm this year as it was last year. It’s kind of everything like using my legs, using my core and then the arms just following. Very similar to golf.”
8] How much can developing more chemistry with your playmakers help you from a performance standpoint?
“Well, I think last year for me, last year wasn’t – I wasn’t as comfortable just in general. I wasn’t comfortable calling plays. I think the guys that we had last year were phenomenal. I just didn’t have the comfortability of kind of checking plays, alerting plays and doing that. I just rode with the play even if I knew in a way that it wasn’t going to work. I was going to try to make it work still. But the firepower that we have this year, it’s good but you’ve got to get it out to them too. If you’re able to protect yourself and then get it out to them and have them make plays, then you’ll be good.”
9] So you’re saying that there were instances last year where you were executing plays that you didn’t feel comfortable with, and you didn’t feel comfortable checking into other plays?
“Actually, what I’m saying is that I didn’t actually know the playbook necessarily really, really good; and that’s on no one else’s fault but my fault. Our play calls were simple when I was in. I didn’t have alerts and checks whereas now, feeling more comfortable, I can kind of maneuver my way through these things now.”
10] On getting grief about his new look, including a beard and longer hair:
"Yeah, my mom and my grandmother have been telling me to shave it.”
Will you keep it?
“I’m not too sure. My dad likes it but you never know. Maybe one day I might come with all of it shaven off. Who knows?"
The Extra Point is a regular weekday feature on BamaCentral+, and often includes video and other elements from our FanNation parters. Other recent segments include:
Former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa made headlines on Wednesday in South Florida when he met with reporters for the first time since the 2020 regular season finale. Subscribe for full article
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