Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on October 15, 2023.
Q. Did you call an audible again for the WR Tyreek Hill touchdown this week?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, me and Tyreek talked in the huddle about that entire deal before his touchdown, and Mike (McDaniel) was actually on schedule with what we wanted to do. He said, 'Here's the play, but if you want to do this, if you want to do that, I don't care. It's not basically giving you full control, but I trust that you're going to make it right.' So that's what we did.
But I kind of want to also just bring to the attention, I didn't really realize how bad things were in Israel, and just wanted to bring to attention, for those who don't necessarily understand things that are going on, that it really is bad, and if you don't understand, if you go on Google, you look, you search, and you read about what's going on in this world, this world needs prayer. I don't know what we've come to, but just my thoughts, my prayers are out with those people in Israel. I know the Ukraine and Russia war is still going on, as well, and just wanted to bring notice that although we have the freedom to do this here, play football and be able to have the freedom to do these things that to come back into reality and think, that's where we all are here in this world. Just want to bring that to the attention. Hopefully we all come together and can pray for the kids, the children, the wives, the women and the men that are putting themselves out there every day for those unfortunate events that are happening right now.
Q. I know you had an embrace with Panthers QB Bryce Young after the game. What did that mean, another one of your Alabama brethren?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, the conversation that I felt like if I was on the other side of the ball, I would want someone to tell me. I think he's doing a tremendous job. There's going to be times where you're going to make mistakes because you're a rookie, and there's things that when he plays the next game that he wished he knew this game, and he'll continue to grow from that. I just told him to keep the press, the naysayers, other people, that's just external factors. They're going to say what they're going to say, but you continue to believe in yourself, you continue to do the right things, you're going to go far.
Q. You guys are so good at home. I think you're like 15-2. What makes it so good playing in this building?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think for one, the atmosphere that we have here. The fans come out and it's really loud for the opposing team to hear. It's probably been one of the loudest that I've ever heard today, while the opposing team was on third down. But I think it's that, and then just the work that our guys in the facility have been putting in. This is one of the best weeks of practice that I've seen overall from all our guys. It says a lot with how we've come down from a 14-0 deficit and sort of overturned that entire deal into what it was.
Q. Slow starts aren't really the norm for you guys. What do you think happened there at the start of the game?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, I think there were some mishaps, but you've also got to give credit to their defense. Their defense did a good job with what they thought we were going to do, and some of them, they guessed right, and some of them, we just needed to be better with our technique. That's all the way across the board.
Q. No sacks today; what can you say about Eichenberg, Lamm and the whole o-line?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, that's who you've got to give the credit to. You've got to give the credit to those guys up front. I think Liam did a great job of making the call, and whether it was the right call or not, just letting our guys go and play and we'll play off of that or we'll figure it out on the fly. He did a great job under center with his snaps, in the gun with his snaps. Really wasn't any snap too high or too low. I think he's starting to feel comfortable with the position that he's at now. But it goes to say that our running game flourished because of those guys up there. I'm very proud of the way they performed, and we're going to hope to continue this going into next week.
Q. You mentioned facing one Alabama quarterback today. What do you think of the one you'll be facing next week, Jalen Hurts, a guy you're a little more familiar with?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, it's going to be good. I've got a lot of respect for Jalen (Hurts). I think this is a game that a lot of people are going to want to see, given the talent that's on that side of the ball, the talent that's on this side of the ball. It's one of those where, okay, we've got a lot of good matchups across the board. How are these guys going to play us, how are we going to come out against these guys. So we're really excited for this next opponent.
Q. This team is now 5-1 for the first time in 20-plus years. What does this mean to you to be one of the leaders on this team towards your goal/
TUA TAGOVAILOA: 5-1, it is what it is right now. It feels good any time you can get a win, but the job is not done yet. Where we want to go, we've got to continue to stack wins together.
Q. Tyreek did a backflip holding a cell phone…
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Unbelievable. Crazy. That's the exact reaction I would have. You couldn't even finish your question.. (laughter)
Q. I was just wondering what you thought.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: It was unbelievable. I didn't even know he backflipped. I didn't because I was looking to the sideline, and I was kind of gesturing to Mike (McDaniel), given the freedom that he gave me and Tyreek on that play. Then when I looked back, Tyreek was like almost – he was like sprinting towards me. I didn't get to see it until I looked on the Jumbotron.
Q. What makes him such an inviting target for you? Why is this connection going so well?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You just know where he's going to be. Speed kills. You know that these other teams see that. Those guys have put that on film. It's not just with Tyreek, it's with Jaylen. We also have our running backs. There are a lot of other guys that are sneaky fast, as well, but they don't get that opportunity much because of those guys. Yeah, that's what I would say to that.
Q. Tyreek set the new NFL record for most yards through six games.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: What was it?
Q. It was 812, I believe it's 814 now. Obviously you helped in that. What is it about – I know you mentioned what it is about him, but building your connection with him over the last two years, how has it led for you guys to be on the same page like you are?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, it helps. It helps having someone like him that anytime you get press, there's a possible signal you can give him or there's a possible eye contact deal that you can give him. Working through those things in practice and having those conversations where it's, dude, that's not even what we called, but as long as you guys know what you're doing, like I trust that you guys are going to make it work. That's what this past two years has done for quarterback to receiver, that sort of relationship. Then we meet and we talk about things that we want, not just with Tyreek, with Jaylen, with Braxton, with those that are included in the game plan.
Q. Your thoughts on RB Raheem Mostert's performance today, being able to do what he did on the field, three touchdowns, just incredible as a teammate?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: It's incredible, and that should tell you a lot because of the guys that we have in the running back room that I thought they did really good, too. Chris Brooks did really good, Salvon Ahmed did really well. But it's hard when it's being overpowered by the performance that Raheem (Mostert) had. But I mean, Raheem has been a great teammate. He's a really, really good player. Very happy for him. I know the guys in the locker room are happy for him. He's a great leader, and he's got a lot of respect. He's the old head. He's the old head. To have the amount of respect he has from all these young guys, it means a lot to him. For him, his mindset is I'm never too old to play this child's game.
Q. You alluded to this earlier, but what was the freedom that Head Coach Mike McDaniel gave you and WR Tyreek Hill on that touchdown play.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, he basically said, 'you can call this play or you can do this, but like whatever you want to do, like I trust that you guys are going to make it right.' So that's what we did. Turned out to be a backflip for Tyreek.
Q. Did you read something and make the call then?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, it's on my wristband, and I get to call it and we have deals that we communicate in the huddle about. That's what happened.