Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on August 16, 2023.
(I want to ask you real quick, I saw you talking to Texans Wide Receiver John Metchie III on the sidelines earlier. How good is it to see him out here back, healthy on the field finally getting to play football again?) – "It was really good to see him. It was really good to see a lot of the other Alabama guys as well. Christian Harris, Henry To'oTo'o, Will Anderson. It was good. It's a good alumni kind of deal. We got a good amount of Alabama guys on our team as well. Like fairly the same offense to I think defense to as well. Our offense three. We got Lester Cotton and Jaylen Waddle. But other than that, it was really cool to see them, talk it up with them. Ask them how they're doing. Everyone's doing good. So that was cool."
(You were talking to Roger Clemens? Did you get to meet him?) – "Yeah, how cool is that, huh? That was really cool. I was about to say something I probably never should have said that he told me, but yeah, it was really cool."
(It's okay, you can. We won't tell anybody.) – "Oh, yeah, no, I'm sure. Everything's disclosed here. (laughter)"
(Last week when you were asked about Maui it was just beginning to happen. You were unaware. Now that you've had time, how closely are you following that situation?) – "Definitely following it a lot closer. I didn't understand the magnitude of how big the fires and whatnot were going to get. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families. I have a couple of friends that live on Maui that spent a lot of time on Oahu because they work on Oahu and they go back and forth to their families. But just a lot of prayers and thoughts going out to those families out there."
(Tough to transition off that, but a couple weeks ago, you'd mentioned the communication on the defense stands out to you. Just curious how those guys challenge you every day in practice with how they cover on the back end and pass things off and their overall performance?) – "Yeah, it makes it tough going into playing other teams because you've been practicing against them OTAs, you've been practicing a good amount against them in camp, and it's things that they do that sort of mitigate you to second-guess yourself on certain throws and the timing of things. Every team is different and it's like a clean slate. You got to you got to figure out what this team does. They don't do necessarily what our team does. Maybe sometimes situationally they could, but it's just the mind game of that. That's all it was."
(OT Terron Armstead spoke to us not too long ago. And he said one of the things that sticks out to when you watch the offense is really you guys trying to get an operation and timing, which is interesting to me because last year the timing was so good. When you look at this offense, do you think some of it is new pieces, the defense, maybe experimentation in Year 2? What would you kind of attribute that to?) – "I think we're trying to put a lot more stress on our guys in the back end with our motions and understanding what to do play wise. There's a lot of things that we got going on this year that Mike's (McDaniel) wanting to try for our guys and trying to see who does what the best and try to go from there. So that's really all it is. Operation is always going to be a key for us to just get in the huddle, get the play call, get out so that we can see everything. Get our guys going in and play."
(Can you explain what happened on the two interceptions?) – "On the first interception, I think it's what I've done best, is looking guys off and no-looking throws into holes like that. I talked to Christian Harris – buddy, Alabama – and told me that, 'dude, you did that so much to us last year that like I was like, okay, just trust my drop in this area.' And he's like, I'm not falling for it. And that's basically what happened. So it's a good play for him. And that, too, the mind game of that, it's like, 'wow, I never thought that you'd figure that out, that piece of the game out.' So kudos to him. And then on that last one. Man, I wish I could have that one back. That one, I was trying to maneuver someone and it didn't work out with one of the receivers and that's that was the only place to ditch the ball. I probably should have just sailed it to the ground but it's a good play. It's a good play by him."
(Is that what happened on the big play to TE Durham Smythe before that? It looked like you came off a couple reads frontside and got backside to him?) – "Yeah, that's exactly what happened on that side. They showed inside leverage on Tyreek (Hill). Then they jumped outside leverage, got Tyreek a little stuck, just had to progress."
(Where do things stand with you in preseason games? Obviously didn't see you in the first one.) – "Whatever Mike (McDaniel) has in plan, whatever he has in store, I'm ready whether I play this week, whether I play next week, whatever he decides or if I don't play."
(If you felt liked you needed the work, would you go and say, "hey I want to get a few series in"?) –"I mean, I wanted to work last week, too. So it's really up to Mike (McDaniel). No matter which way you spin it for him. I got you. But no, make sense. I understand what you're saying to me, but no. All right."
(Last year, it seemed at times it was tough getting your play calling in? Because you have long play calls. I asked Head Coach Mike McDaniel about it last week. He said, "They're still the same play calls, I haven't shortened them." He's just counting on you being better versed with them to be able to get it out and into your huddle? Would you like to see it trimmed down a little bit?) – "I would say it's a blessing and a curse because you do want all these indicators because it sort of tells us what the defense is in and what not. But then to that point, the clock is going down, and it's long. I would say the thing is, like for us in the quarterback room, there are some times where you just have to memorize the play, where when it's coming in, you're like, 'Okay, you're seeing it while he's like not even finishing it.'"
(Well, that's what I'm trying to ask. From this year to last year, have you gotten to the point where you hear it and you know and you don't have to…?) – "Well, I would say yes. Yes and no, it's a little tough. I can give you guys a play and then if you guys want to repeat it after me as if you guys are in the huddle, you guys can. Alright, should I go once or twice saying it? All right, we got north right clamp south fox H top pass 38 top Gumby XP sweat. Let's go. Anyone? Sounds like a pre-snap penalty to me. (laughter)"
(Head Coach Mike McDaniel had mentioned the value of joint practices and getting together as a team. What kind of role do you think you play in just getting the guys together and getting the off-field conversations and getting that bond together?) – "Yeah, I think it's really, really good. We had an off day yesterday coming here. Went to dinner with the guys on Monday. And then we also got to go watch a movie yesterday so it was cool. It was like a movie fest yesterday. Just movie hopping. Watched 'Oppenheimer,' that was pretty good. Freaking long. That's a long movie, oh my gosh. 'Sound of Freedom' is good. Yeah, 'Sound of Freedom' is definitely really good. You guys should watch that. Especially you guys with kids. Mike White paid for dinner. I know, exactly. What? (laughter) Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Mike White paid for dinner, the vet."