Tua Tagovailoa’s moment is coming.
His next moment, anyway. Alabama’s sophomore quarterback has a small anthology of instant classics, milestones and breakthroughs.
He isn’t alone in those moments, surrounded by teammates, coaches and onlookers. But no player receives the attention that a quarterback does. No one handles it quite like Tagovailoa.
“You never felt like there would ever be a moment that would be too pressurized for him,” said Kevin Wallace, who was Tagovailoa’s position coach at the 2017 U.S. Army All-American Game. “He just had the personality to handle the moment.”
Another one could come this weekend as Alabama travels to Ole Miss in the first true road game of Tagovailoa’s career as a starter. The Crimson Tide’s last trip to Oxford created a moment that required a 21-point comeback in crockpot-like conditions. There’s no telling what awaits Alabama there or on the remainder of its schedule.
“I have no doubts in his ability to be able to go in front of a hostile environment and command the team like he always does,” tight end Hale Hentges said. “We’re extremely confident in him, and he’s going to do a phenomenal job.”
There’s no question what Tagovailoa’s biggest moment has been. His second-and-26 completion to DeVonta Smith against Georgia seized Alabama’s 17th national championship. Tagovailoa went from recruiting phenom to football folk hero.
It changed his life even if it didn’t change him.
“It’s definitely changed a lot, and I think that goes for anyone who’s in the spotlight or whatnot, and who nobody really knows about, and performs in a big situation,” Tagovailoa said at the start of fall camp.
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