Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa says that losing the national championship game to Clemson in January was good for the team.
“I know this sounds weird, but it was good that we lost because what can you learn if you keep winning? You can’t learn as much.”
Tagovailoa spoke to reporters Wednesday at SEC Football Media Days in Hoover, six months after Clemson defeated Alabama 44-16. Tagovailoa said the loss was a good experience for the Crimson Tide.
“Winning is something that you don’t take for granted now,” Tagovailoa said. “How we are doing things now and going with this is how we take ownership over our team.”
Tagovailoa was one of three players who joined Alabama coach Nick Saban at Media Days. Saban said Tagovailoa has some room to improve this year, despite having a very successful season last year.
“Towards the end of the season we turned the ball over a little bit more offensively than what we had in the first half of the season,” Saban said. “I’m sure he wants to make sure the decision-making that led to some of those things are something he can improve on.”
Tagovailoa said he’s spent a majority of the off-season in the training room. He praised Saban for pushing him to get better.
“He’s really hard on you, and there’s not too many people like that, but I think you need someone like that in pretty much every organization to set the standard and get everyone straight.”
Tagovailoa also praised his teammates for helping him shine.
“It wouldn’t be possible without the guys I’m surrounded by,” Tagovailoa said. “That’s the only reason it’s possible for me to be sitting up here in front of you guys.”
One of those players is Jerry Jeudy, a wide receiver for the Crimson Tide. Jeudy says Tagovailoa is the best quarterback in the country and is excited about strengthening their bond this fall.
“He had a great season last year and I’m excited to see what he will do this year, too,” Jeudy said. “There’s a lot of stuff we need to work on: new plays that we need to figure out, the details and fundamentals of those plays, stuff like that that we need to focus on as a receiver group and as an offense.”
Tagovailoa said the wide receivers are a key to the success of the offense.
“They’re not selfish, they’re selfless,” Tagovailoa said. “They will run as many brotherhood routes as they can to get someone else open. That’s been the key to their success and that’s been the key to our success offensively.”
Tagovailoa also praised the defense for the team’s success, including Dylan Moses, who will be a team leader on defense this fall.
“He’s quiet, but when he goes out there, his playing does all the talking,” Tagovailoa said. “His playing is real loud, but it’s who he is off the field is how he builds relationships with these guys. I think he earns a lot of respect building the relationships he has with these guys.”
The feeling of respect between Tagovailoa and Moses is mutual.
“We’re working together, hand-in-hand, as him being a leader on offense as me being a leader on defense just to make that happen,” Moses said.
Tagovailoa also said he’s happy to have his brother on the team this fall, although the “brotherly love” is different on the field.
“We came to this understanding that on the field, it’s business,” Tagovailoa said. “You got to work. I’ve got to work. Everyone’s working for a spot. Off the field? That’s my brother, someone I’ve got to take care of, I’ve got to love on if he needs anything, I’m going to be there for him.”