No one is going to feel sorry about the amount of attention Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa attracts.
Much of it is positive, so much so that Alabama coach Nick Saban issued a “rat poison” warning last Saturday in terms of the offensive records Tagovailoa is breaking.
The fact Tagovailoa didn’t make most of the national mid-season All-America teams, for what they are worth, is hardly a slight worth fretting over.
But because Tagovailoa has been in the national spotlight for over a year — and especially because he is regarded as a potential overall No. 1 NFL draft choice in the future — the analysis has reached the electron-microscope level. It’s not just his interception — he has only thrown one. Now, even Tagovailoa’s successes are scrutinized.
That’s despite the fact Alabama leads the nation in points per drive against Power Five opposition (4.7 points as calculated by college football efficiency expert Brian Fremeau.)
Tagovailoa is the first to acknowledge that lone interception, thrown in the Texas A&M end zone late in the second quarter of last Saturday’s 47-28 Alabama win.
“I pretty much stared the guy down,” Tagovailoa explained at Alabama’s media opportunity on Monday. “That was a good play by the DB. I believe it was the backside safety. It was a good play by him. But you go out there, you just have to play. I think if you go out there thinking too much about things like that, that’s when they end up occurring more often.
“I still feel my accuracy, I’ve got to work on that. You know, the timing with the guys on routes, in-breaking routes, out-breaking routes, crossers, throwing guys open. There’s a lot of things.”
That seems fair. The criticism that comes with successful passes — like the Crimson Tide’s effectiveness on slant patterns off the run-pass option — seems a stretch.
“That’s what given to us,” Tagovailoa explained. “If that’s what’s given, we’ve got to execute it the best way we can execute it. It’s not like (on) every play, you can take a shot down the field.”
He also understands some of the criticism comes from the army of NFL draft analysts that populates the airwaves and social media world. That doesn’t mean he’s a fan of the “Tank For Tua” hashtags.
“It’s flattering, but we have a season to worry about now,” Tagovailoa said. “Everyone is saying ‘Tank for Tua’ now, but if we end up losing the rest of the season, all our games, they won’t be there saying it then. We just have to worry about what’s in front of us now, worry about the games we have to deal with now.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @cecilhurt