Alabama football coach Nick Saban isn't going to let starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa rest on his laurels -- or his reputation -- heading into his junior season.
Though Tagovailoa completed 24 of 27 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns to outduel Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray in the Orange Bowl to return to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January, Saban wants to see more from his star player -- before the 2019 season starts.
"I think Tua has to challenge himself a little bit to get back to ... I think being hurt was an issue for him at the end of the season. I think that he has to challenge himself to get back into great shape and overcome some of the things that happened toward the end of the year," Saban said Tuesday of Tagovailoa, who was slowed by an ankle injury late in the season and struggled in the 44-16 rout by Clemson in the title game. "And I think he should take the perception that he has a lot to prove relative to how we ended the season."
Saban, speaking at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., added, "I think the whole team fits into that category."
Though the Crimson Tide return Tagovailoa, their top four receivers and a tough defense, Saban doesn't want his players feeling overconfident when the 2019 season begins.
"The question is, who here on our team is happy with the way things ended last year?" Saban said. "We're certainly not. So we've talked a lot about the Bama factor -- playing with discipline, high standard of accountability and responsibility, and doing your job at a high level on a consistent basis and putting the team first -- and we're certainly still working on that."
Alabama opens the 2019 season against Duke in Atlanta on Aug. 31.
--Field Level Media