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January 5, 2019

Tua Tagovailoa

Santa Clara, California

Q. I just want to ask about facing Clemson again.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: This is my first time getting the opportunity to play them, so not really. We know that they have a good front seven. They have a pretty good secondary as well. We're looking forward to the challenges as a team.

Q. What is it about these two programs that kind of sets them apart from the other teams?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'm not too sure what they do on their side, but whatever they're doing, they're very successful with it, and I think they've done a tremendous job within the past couple seasons, continuing that success. I'd say for us it's what we do off-season with what no one sees.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, I can only say that we're continuing to get better with it. I don't think it's my ankle anymore. It's just, I guess, trying to maintain the feeling of it feeling good, especially going into this game. Just one more, you know. After that, then I can rest however long I want.

Q. What similarities would you say that you and Trevor have in playing the tackle position that you've noticed?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I never really watched any of their games. I got the opportunity to see him at the Elite 11 when he was competing with my brother. I think he has tremendous arm talent, and I think he's done a tremendous job as well with the success that he's had. As a true freshman bringing his team to the National Championship, that's not easy. So I think he's done a tremendous job with that.

Q. You have 400 family members coming to the game. Is that pretty accurate?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You can't ask me. I don't even know if that's true or not. I don't know who said that or where that source came from. I understand there is a lot of family members that we have in California, but 400, I don't know how you can get that many tickets.

Q. How excited are you just to have as many family members as you're going to coming to California and flying in?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: It's fun. It's awesome to have great moral support, especially from family members. Makes me feel like I'm playing at home again back in Hawaii. It will be like a little family reunion after the game for sure. But just them being there, it means a lot.

Q. How much has Coach Locksley meant to you this year, and what has he done for you?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think Coach Locksley, to me, he's -- he's like the coolest person. He's not too much of a coach. He's not too much of a dad. You know, he's like us. He's like a teenager, I guess. He's like a teen. I mean, he knows how to interact with us. He knows how to get us doing what we need to do. He knows how to talk to us. He knows how to motivate us.

And I'd say what he's meant to me is -- I mean, that's like a -- I wouldn't say a dad, but that's like a big, big brother to me. I don't know. Coach Locksley is just someone who, as far as coaching-wise, I've never had someone like him before, and I think a lot of the other guys can attest to that as well, with our receiving corps and our entire offense as well.

Q. (No microphone) having a backup quarterback come in. Can you just talk about what it's like to be in a game at this level as a backup quarterback? Coming into a game at this level as a backup quarterback, how difficult is that?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think you've always got to go into a game with the mindset that, when it's my opportunity, I've got to be prepared. For me, for Jalen, Jalen has a good amount of experience, so I wouldn't say Jalen's a backup. I mean, he could be starting on any other team, in my opinion. I think he's handled everything pretty professional, if you ask me. That's the best way I could answer it is just be prepared.

Q. But a backup quarterback, whoever it might be in this game, what's that like?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You've just got to be prepared whenever your number is called, and you got to be ready to help your team become successful, if it's on you.

Q. (No microphone)? What is it like as a young player?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, well, for me last year, I was more so anxious. I was just waiting to get in. I was just eager to get in. I was waiting to make use of my opportunity. When I had my opportunity, I tried to make use of it. I think we did last year. But it was more so just wanting to get in. There was no nerves. I wouldn't say I was scared to go in, nervous. It was just more so anxious.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, he's a starter, so I was a backup last year. I wouldn't know what to tell him. I think whatever he's been doing, he should stick to it. He's done a tremendous job of helping his team become successful and get to this point. So whatever he's been doing, I think he should stick to it.

Q. Tua, you have 405 of your family members coming. Can you name all of them? Can I get a ticket? You're doing it.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: How has it changed? I mean, I'd say after the National Championship, just everything changed, just the way people look at you, the way people treat you. The family members, everyone wants to be your cousin too now. Just social media, everything else changes. Your life is under a microscope now, and everything you say or do is under a microscope.

Q. Where would you say Nick Saban has helped you with your development most this season?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'd say decision-making, and aside from decision-making, understanding blitz packages and knowing how to pick up the blitz, where to pick up the blitz. And I think that's a testament not only to what Coach Saban has helped us with, but also Coach Dan Enos. I think he's done a tremendous job within our quarterback room. We're all just a testament to what they've been teaching us.

Q. So how much better do you feel (no microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Last year I didn't get as much playing time as I have this year. So the amount of experience I've gotten this year has helped me, I guess, feel comfortable in making decisions, knowing where to go with the ball instantly and knowing when not to throw the ball and when to throw the ball.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Coach Enos has taught us a lot. We have our footwork. He teaches us read keys, movement keys. It's a lot different than last year because last year we had Coach Daboll. And Coach Daboll, it was a little different situation because Coach Daboll had to coach the quarterbacks and had to be an offensive coordinator as well. So it wasn't as easy for Coach Daboll. But when you have somebody just primarily set towards your position with Coach Enos, it's given us a great amount of time with just spending time with him in the film room, on the field. I think the quarterback room has done a tremendous job.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't know if I could compare them to our D-line, but their D-line is very athletic. The D-line is very athletic. They don't change up personnel too much, which makes them kind of dangerous because that then gives them an advantage of being a multiple defense without changing personnel. With us being in four open, two tight ends, it doesn't matter, and I think that's what makes them pretty dangerous on defense.

I think the biggest thing for us is we've got to go out there, and we've got to execute everything opportunity that we get.

Q. Does it change your thoughts at all knowing you're going to be under more pressure?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Not really. Not really. I have full trust in our offensive line as well. I think we have a really good offensive line, so it doesn't affect the way we go about doing things on the field. With me dropping back, looking at my movement keys, my read keys. I think it's when you do take your eyes off of your movement keys, your read keys and you end up looking at the rush, that's when you think you're getting pressure when usually you're really not.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: It feels good. I have a lot of family members out here, so it's really good. The amount of support that I get is awesome from my family. Yeah, it's cool.

Q. You said you're feeling good. How much (no microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: After the Oklahoma game, when the adrenaline kind of ran off, I could feel the muscles around the ankle. It was fatigue, and I'd say that's the only time it was hurting, but for us not to feel that, we're just trying to maintain it. I've been in a boot, and I'm getting treatment right now as well. We've got this Firefly stim unit on, and we've got a stim unit on as well.

I think Jeff Allen and our athletic training staff have done a tremendous job up to this point helping me get better.

Q. What's the treatment like?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Stim unit. I'm getting a stim unit right now. Whatever they feel like is good for me to do.

Q. Second year going to your second national title. Did you ever see yourself in a situation like this? How blessed are you to be here?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'm really blessed. I'm blessed to be surrounded by this group of guys, and I'm blessed to be surrounded by our coaches as well. This is something you can't take for granted because there is 128, 129 other teams that are going to be home watching us play as well. You can't take success for granted, and I think you put it the best. We're just all blessed to be here as a team.

Q. Tua, some L.A. fans are going to be watching down there. How close were you to going to 'SC?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: To 'SC? I was pretty close going to 'SC, but it was a family decision. I wouldn't look back.

Q. So what swung you to Alabama, swung your family members to Alabama?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You got to ask my dad that question.

Q. I did ask him that question. (No microphone).
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Then that was the answer because my dad is the person who helped me make the decision.

Q. Speaking of family, I know it's only been a couple of weeks having your brother around the program. How is that going?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: He hasn't really came on campus yet. I think he gets onto campus when we get back to Tuscaloosa after the National Championship, but that's going to be really exciting to have my brother there the entire time, just being able to see him, take care of him. It will be awesome.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Not really. I don't rely on too many, I guess, scriptures unless it's like -- unless I need encouragement or something. I would say the scripture that I always take into consideration since I was in high school, coming into college as well, is 1 Corinthians chapter 2, verse 9. It says, For no eyes have seen, no ears have heard, and no mind has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: They're a very dynamic defense. They have a really good front seven. They do a pretty good job at disguising what they're going to do. They have numerous amount of blitz packages. That's something we're going to have to be prepared for as an offense. But they're very multiple on defense and what they can run because they don't change personnels too much. So I think the biggest challenge is us going in there and executing at a high level.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Their biggest weakness? I'm not too sure. They don't have too many of it. We're just going to have to go out there and play and execute.

Q. How has your preparation for this year been different?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: This year preparing has been different because now I'm preparing as a starter. Last year I wasn't in the starting role. So just going into this game, I'm preparing to be a starter. And I think this time around I feel a lot more comfortable than last year. Last year was different, and I didn't have as much games under my belt as I do this year. I'd say just the preparation of knowing what we're capable of doing as an offense is totally different this year than it was last year.

Q. Tua, Alabama's offense has changed. What have you seen Nick Saban change in the offense since you came in as the quarterback?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think for Coach Saban, he -- this is nothing new to him. I'd say the biggest thing with Coach Saban that no one really knows is whatever you're good at, he's going to try to find a way to implement that into the offense, the defense, special teams. I'd say a lot of the credit not only goes to Coach Saban, but it goes to Coach Locksley as well for trusting that this isn't an easy way to run an offense, but if run correctly, the success rate is pretty well.

I think Coach Saban has helped us a lot with allowing us to do what we want to on the offensive side and not worrying too much about it and just letting us kind of do what we want. When he does jump in, it's usually never good.

Q. For the longest time, the offense was tailback run, (no microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Not really. I came in just wanting to do whatever they were doing and whatever was going to help the team become successful. I would have never been able to tell that they were going to change the offense up a little bit and run it the way we are.

Q. I think you have 400 family members coming to the game?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't know. I don't know if that's how many people are coming to the game. I do have a lot of family members, but if you could ask anyone in here if they could name 400 people, I don't think anyone could even name 100 off the top of their head. So 400, that's a lot.

Q. Where did this number come from?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You can't ask me because I didn't say it.

Q. Your game against Oklahoma, 24-27. I think one was a throw away, one was a drop pass, a couple of others. What do you think was your best game this season?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'm hoping it's going to be this game. As an offense -- well, for me, I don't really look at it as what's the best game I played, more so what could I have done better within the game. I'd say what I could have done a lot better in the Georgia game was probably just not have went back in. I think I hurt the team in a way where we could have ended up losing that game. If I didn't get hurt again, I don't think we would have been successful.

I think I should have made an executive decision by just staying out. I think Jalen had a way better chance of winning the game for us earlier in the game than I would have had throughout the entire game.

Q. I'm glad you didn't say Oklahoma because I thought you played as perfect as you could play against Oklahoma. When you look at Clemson defensively, personnel-wise, who have you faced this season that's similar to what they bring to the table?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'm not too sure because these guys are really big up front. They're really tall. They're very athletic. You don't see that too much in a lot of the teams you play. It's usually they're big or they're tall or they're just athletic, not really all in one. I think they have it kind of all in one with what they have on defense. They've done a great job up to this point.

We're just looking forward to the challenge. It's going to be exciting.

Q. How do you keep your composure so calm on the biggest stages?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'd say it's my faith. My faith just helps me with everything that I go through. That's all.

Q. What do you think will have to be the biggest key in this game to get a win against Clemson?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Execution. Executing on all cylinders -- special teams, defense, and offense.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: We're continuing to get better. We're continuing to get treatment on it, to maintain the feeling of it, feeling good up to the game. But come time to the game, we'll be ready.

Q. Are you concerned about it?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'm not concerned at all about my health.

Q. What's your favorite thing about Jonah?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: My favorite thing about Jonah? He's like a silent assassin. Jonah is like -- Jonah is one who doesn't talk as much, but when he goes out there, he's just someone different. He's just someone different.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I mean, you guys see it on film. This man's very aggressive. But he doesn't talk too much. That's the thing. Like the world could be ending, and Jonah would just be Jonah.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, it gives you a lot of confidence. You know, I came in, and Jonah was a freshman All-American as well. So it's like right off the bat, you know this guy's the real deal. He played in the National Championship, I think, all his years here. So this isn't something new to him. I have the utmost trust in his abilities and his capabilities that he's going to do well for us.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, well, that was when he was on his recruiting trip, and then when he got here, we played a little. He's a pretty good singer, and he can also play ukulele. It's not too much of us being together as far as outside of football and whatnot just because we're all busy and whatnot. But that's pretty much it.

Q. As West Coast guys, do you kind of help each other out and get together?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, he's Polynesian, so it's a lot easier for us Polynesian kids to stick together and be around each other. We kind of know each other's lingo. Aside from that, it's just more comfortable being around them because they're kind of your people too.

Q. Something you miss the most from home?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: The food. I just miss the food. That's it.

Q. When you look around at the campus, what's it like for you?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Just a lot of cameras, just us talking to the media.

Q. Do you feel like (no microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'm not too sure. I'm not too sure how to answer that. I wouldn't know.

Q. Tua, your dad played football out here. Does he ever talk about his experience?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: No, he hasn't. He hasn't, yeah.

Q. And I know you're expecting a lot of family here. Do you have a lot of ties being from Hawaii?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: There's a lot of family in the Bay Area. There's a lot of family in L.A. But my parents probably know more of our family members than I do.

Q. With so many family members being close, did you grow up a 49ers fan or anything like that?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: No, I grew up a Cowboys fan. I'm a Dallas fan.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Exactly. So I don't like the Niners as much.

Q. I talked to Quinnen earlier, and I know you talked about you wish that NCAA game was back. I asked Quinnen about what would you rating be? He said I'd be at 97, and Tua would be right behind me at 96. What would your rating be?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't even know. That's a good question. That's a great question. I don't even know how they go about rating people and how they rank them and whatnot. I don't know. All I know is I would be playing our team on that game.

Q. How do you think Dan Enos has changed the quarterback room?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think he's redefined it by a big margin. Last year we didn't get as much attention focused on just the quarterback position, just because Coach Daboll was our OC as well, so he had to kind of balance the two. For Coach Enos, he's just set on our position specifically, and I think he's definitely redefined it by the way we go about doing things, how we communicate in the quarterback room, our vocabulary words, just the way we talk to each other and communicate, I'd say, and our footwork and whatnot.

Q. What's a vocabulary word that maybe you weren't using last year that you use now?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Our movement key. That's what we use. We can't say like this is the person we're reading. It's the movement key. We've all got to have the same vocabulary. We've all got to be on the same page.

Q. Do you remember the first time you met him?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think I met him in the spring when we were doing spring training. I didn't know who Coach Enos was at first, but I did understand that he was going to be our quarterback coach. It kind of had to work its way in with not only me but all the other quarterbacks, to kind of have Coach Enos earn our respect because he just got there and we've kind of been there. He's done a great job. He treats us all with respect, and he's a well rounded, family oriented guy.

Q. How do you feel about the fact that you guys are facing Clemson again? Your third time facing them, right? Fourth time overall. Do you feel like you enjoy that, like you're seeing a familiar rival?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: This is actually my first time playing them. I don't need to look at it as our fourth time playing them or rivalry game.

Q. What does Jonah Williams mean to you?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Jonah doesn't talk too much. He's more of a person who leads by action. I think he's done a tremendous job. To have someone like him blocking on my left side as the tackle, I mean, I have the utmost trust in him. As a freshman All-American, he played in the National Championship, and his junior year he's playing in the National Championship. So he has experience. He knows what he's doing. I mean, I fully trust that he's going to be able to help us win another one.

Q. One more question about Dan. How do you think he's helped your team?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Just in general with the RPO game, I think we've been a lot more successful with it, with the help of Coach Enos. He teaches us who our read keys are, who our movement keys are, where to read the certain plays on whether we're handing it off or whether we're having to throw it. I think he's helped all of us become successful.

You guys got to see Jalen get his opportunity in the SEC Championship game and make use of it.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I haven't actually, no, sir.

Q. You haven't? Never met him?

Q. Have you seen him play?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Not really. I actually seen him at the Elite 11 when he was with my younger brother Taulia, and they were competing. My brother was a junior, and he was a senior. So I got to see him then. I think he's really good. He's done a tremendous job up to this point with helping his team become successful. As a true freshman, it's not easy to lead your team to a National Championship. So whatever they're doing over there and whatever he's doing, I think they should stick to it.

Q. I mean, you must study quarterbacks. What do you think of him?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: He's very technical when I seen him at the Elite 11 with how he throws. He's very good, very compact. I mean, the ball spins really well off of his fingers. He's good.

Q. Did you have a quarterback idol growing up?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: My dad wasn't even a quarterback. But for me, our team was USC growing up. I used to be No. 11 because of Matt Leinart. He was a lefty as well. I used to look up to Matt Leinart a little, I guess.

Q. I meant a quarterback coach.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Quarterback coach?

Q. You never had a specialized coach?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, my dad.

Q. Anyone else?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, Coach Vinny Passas. He coached like Marcus Mariota, Jeremiah Masoli, and all those other guys as well.

Q. So he's a private coach?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: He's actually a public coach in Hawaii.

Q. Where?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: St. Louis High School.

Q. What's the biggest challenge that you see in Clemson?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: They're very multiple on defense. They do a really good job at their blitz packages, at executing it. I think their defensive coordinator has done a tremendous job with putting their guys in places where they can become successful on defense. Their personnel doesn't change as much. So that makes them a lot more multiple on their defense. It makes them a lot more dangerous on what they're going to do, how they're going to do it, how they're going to go about doing it as well.

But it's going to be a challenge, and we're looking forward to it.

Q. You're a role model for a lot of quarterbacks, especially quarterbacks in the Poly community. What advice do you have? Because the Poly community is a little bit different. What message do you have for them?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: For me, what helped me is you've got to honor your parents. It starts from home, and your parents are your first teachers. In Polynesian families, family is everything to you. You just got to work hard. Nothing's given to you. That's the biggest thing.

Q. You've gone through a difficult situation as a backup quarterback behind Jalen and now the starter. You guys were able to manage that. You're going to see more two quarterback situations like that. What's the key to keeping that quarterback group healthy and maintaining a relationship like you and Jalen did in the spotlight?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You come into the quarterback room or you come into Alabama knowing that you've got to compete every time. I'm a competitor. He's a competitor. We also have guys like Mac Jones. We have my brother who's coming in. We have Paul, Paul Tyson who's here. You've got to go in with the mindset that everyone's competitors, but at the end of the day, we can all be friends. When it's football, we're able to all compete, help each other, help one another. But at the end of the day, it's done.

Q. What do you think about Clemson's defensive line? Something they remind you of?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I couldn't say they reminded me of any guys we've played this year, but I think they're very good. They're big. They're strong. They're athletic. And usually you don't really see that in teams that you play. It's either one or the other. It's either they're just big or they're just strong or they're just athletic, but they kind of have a three-in-one package with almost all their D-linemen. It's going to be a challenge for us, but I think as an offense, we're excited for it.

Q. Tua, set the record straight. So how many family members are coming?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't know. I couldn't answer that.

Q. Is it over 400?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I couldn't even answer that truthfully. I don't even know how many people are coming. I know we have a lot of family members, but you couldn't ask me to even name 100. I don't even know 100.

Q. How does that make you feel to know that -- you know, we all have family support, but yours evidently seems to be more than the average. What does it mean to you as an individual, as a player?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, having a lot of family support, it's really nothing new. But it means a lot. I mean, your family being there, especially within the Polynesian culture, family being everything. I mean, I'm grateful to have the kind of support that I have. Some of the guys on our team don't even have family members coming to support them. So I'm grateful.

Q. You just put together the most prolific offensive season by an Alabama quarterback in history, and yet each time we talk with you, you don't seem very impressed with yourself. How do you explain the perspective you have? You keep things so simple and so humble, yet what you've done has been unprecedented.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You've just got to keep on working. We've got one more game to accomplish what we've wanted to accomplish as a team. I don't think you can be satisfied with what you've done throughout the season unless you've accomplished what you've wanted to. So we've got to keep going until this last one.

Q. We've seen so much parity in football, yet every year it seems that Alabama is here. Can you explain what sets you apart?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'd say just the amount of work we put in with each other. I understand that everyone works hard, but I don't know, I think there's just something about the way we do our workouts and we go about doing our workouts -- got guys passing out, got guys throwing up. While those guys are on the side throwing up and passing out, we're still going.

I mean, it's just a mindset. I hate to say it like that, that it's a mindset, but this is just something we can't take for granted. There's 128, 129 teams that are watching us play now, and you can't take success for granted. I believe that everything we've reaped throughout the entire off-season, throughout the spring is paying dividends towards us.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'd say the biggest thing for me, that it's helped me just stay calm, be where my feet are and whatnot, is just the way I've been raised with my family and most definitely my faith. I couldn't explain it to you any other way for me. I don't know how it is for Trevor, but, yeah, for me, that's just how it is.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I haven't, no, sir.

Q. How do you feel -- compared to where you were last Saturday, that first game is usually the hardest, and now you're back in your routine and your rhythm.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: We feel pretty good as an offense. We got into a rhythm, but we didn't execute the way we wanted to. The defense did give us the ball back. We didn't execute the way we wanted to. It's just something we got to see in the film room, we got to learn from. Hopefully, we don't end up making the same mistakes against a team like this.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Continuing to get better. We're just trying to get better.

Q. Last year you came in the game and had a miraculous moment. The SEC Championship this year, you had the injury. Jalen came in for a miraculous moment. How do you two continue to make each other better, and how is that relationship?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: You've got to look at it as I'm a competitor and Jalen's a competitor. We're going to compete. However long we need to compete, we're going to compete for our team. We're going to do whatever it takes to help our team become successful, and just being prepared every time is the mindset we go into the game with. Not only just me and Jalen, but with Mac Jones as well.

But with all our relationships within the quarterback room, I mean, we have the utmost respect for one another, and we believe in each other. So if anyone had to go out there, we believe in each other's abilities and capabilities to go out there and help each other be successful.

Q. How important is it for the quarterback and the center to have a good relationship?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I would share a lot of things, but I don't think it's necessary for me to share most of the things. Ross is a great guy. I mean, he's funny. He's genuine about everything that he does. He's our center. He's done a tremendous job for us up to this point helping us get to where we want to be. We're hoping we can send guys like him out with a win.

Q. If you could say one thing --
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I couldn't. No, no, no.

Q. What would it mean to be the first team in Alabama history to go two in a row?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I mean, that would be something very special. No one's going to remember us if we lose this game, but everyone's going to remember you if you do win this game. So I think just leaving a legacy at the University of Alabama and just college football as well is going to be something for not only me, not only our offensive guys, but for the entire team. So that would be something very, very special.

Q. Tua, all of us look at the University of Alabama, and we see you and your program a certain way. The fans do, the media does. But the insider, what's the hardest part about playing at Alabama? Is it the expectations? Is it the demands from Coach Saban? What exactly is it?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Standard over feelings. No matter what you're feeling, you've got to live up. You've got to perform to the standard. You've got to do everything the way it's supposed to be done, and that's why Coach Saban harps a lot about trusting the process because it is a process. We don't get to where we're at right now because we prayed for it, we wished for it. Everything -- there's a process towards everything. If you want to be successful in life, there's a process towards it. If you want to be a good football player, there's a process towards it.

So for us all being here, it's just a testament to the team, buying into not only the process, but buying into the principles and the values of the organization.

Q. What will determine Monday's outcome?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I think whoever executes the best. I think that will determine it. If they're executing on all cylinders, that will be tough. If we're executing on all cylinders, it will be tough. So I think execution.

Q. With all of your family members coming to this game, how will it make this one better?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: It's like a home game. It's like playing in Hawaii. It will probably be like a little family reunion after the game. That will be cool to meet new family members, I guess, and see some family members that I already know, but it will be cool.

Q. Is it true it's 400-plus?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't know. I don't know who created that source.

Q. Last year before you got here to the title game, was there a moment when you felt like you were ready for the offense? Okay, if he asks me to do this tomorrow, is that something that you felt you could do? When did you start to feel like you could handle it?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: When I got here right away, I didn't think I would be able to just go in right away and just, dang, I'm going to be the man. Going into our first spring game, the football guy said that's not a lot of people watching this. But to me, that's the first time I've ever experienced something like that in our spring game. That was a lot of people watching. And it's like the first opportunity I got to go in the regular season last year, I was nervous, didn't matter what team it was.

But just going throughout all the games that we've played, just being able to play over and over, you start to gain confidence. You start to get comfortable. That's when my mind kind of started to turn. I just wanted an opportunity. I was hoping for it. I ended up getting it. The rest is history.

Q. Do you think Clemson is maybe the one team because of their consistency and how they've come this far, that they're kind of worthy of standing side by side with you guys at the top? Or do you feel like they're still just this other team chasing the standard you guys have set?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't know what they do on their side, but I know what we do, and I think everyone -- you know, every team is trying to chase the standard that Coach Saban has set here for our university and for our team. So I wouldn't say they're trying to chase what we have, but I'm saying they're trying to accomplish the same things we're trying to accomplish as well. Come Monday, it will be a great opportunity for us to show, I guess, all the hard work we put in the off-season and everything else.

Q. Do you think from the outside people see Clemson as having a goofy, fun-loving coach, they have a lot of fun, maybe Saban is seen as more of a task master, you guys don't have a lot of fun, that it's rigid. Do you guys have a lot more fun day in and day out during the grind than a lot of outside observers notice?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Our fun comes in the games. Our fun doesn't come through practices. I think that's what makes everything a lot better for us as a team is we know that, if we put in the work now here, we're going to end up reaping it come game time. That's when we have fun. You see a lot of our guys cheering. A lot of our guys, when they score, they're doing celebrations and whatnot.

I think that's where our fun comes because Coach Saban doesn't say too much when we're out there having fun with one another. But then usually in practice, we can have fun as well, but it's not as authentic because it's just practice.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I mean, it's a big luxury, not only to have someone like Jonah but to have someone like Ross, someone like Leatherwood, Jedrick, Lester. I mean, just having those guys, I mean, they all have the experience.

I think Leatherwood got his opportunity to play in the National Championship last year. I think Jed got some opportunity to play last year as well. But I mean, going into this game, I understand that they have a really good front seven, but we also have a good O-line as well. I think it's going to be a hard fought battle this Monday.

Q. Did you go to In 'N Out this week?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: No, I don't like In 'N Out. I ate too much of it growing up, so I don't like it.

Q. How do you think the Clemson defense compares to other teams you've played against?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I couldn't compare them to any one team. They're very tall. They're big. They're strong. They're athletic. And usually in most teams, it's either you're one or the other, but they kind of give you a three-in-one package, with having all the traits and abilities, with being strong, big, and athletic. It's going to be a challenge for sure.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I mean, it's very important. I don't think I'm the only one who tries to lead by example. I think Jalen does it as well. I think Mac Jones does it as well. Our entire quarterback room does. But just having the utmost respect for one another and understanding that we're all competitors, I'd say helps out our relationship with all of us.

Q. So with the change this past year, do you ever think back to a year ago when you were at Media Day for the National Championship, how much it's changed?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, I wish I was back down there. It was a lot easier. I could go around and have fun, mess around. But life's definitely changed. It's one of those things, and once you get it, it's like you can't really ask for it back. So it's like a blessing but a burden at the same time.

Q. (No microphone). What's been the biggest difference from last year?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'd say we have a lot more RPOs implemented into our offense within a National Championship Game this year than we did last year. Plays are definitely different in a good amount of ways. Our play call is different as well. So I guess those things are definitely different.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Yeah, well, I do visualize, but I don't really look at it as we've got to score this much because these guys could score this much. I'm just looking at ways we can execute against their defense, you know, certain plays, and that's how I go about doing it.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Kids who want to grow up being like me? Oh. I'd say honor your parents, first off, go to church. After you go to church, work out, do whatever you want to be successful in because God doesn't reward people who don't work hard. So you've got to work hard if you want it. Yeah, the biggest thing is honor your parents.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I never had the opportunity to play against Clemson, so the rivalry doesn't mean anything to me. It's just another opportunity for us as a football team, as an organization, to achieve what we want to as a team.

Q. Last year's experience, how will that help you? How does that change the way you play Monday night?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Well, at the end of the day, it's football. It is a big game, but it's football. A lot of guys here on our team have been in situations like this before, have played in a National Championship, have been in big games. So it's nothing new to them. It's nothing new to us. We're going to go in understanding this is a big game, but we're going to go out playing football. At the end of the day, it's just football.

Q. And I know you don't play against Trevor Lawrence, but do you ever watch what he's done with Clemson and kind of compare maybe?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I haven't had a chance to see him play, so I couldn't answer that.

Q. (No microphone)?

Q. When's the last time you saw Coach Saban smile?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: When's the last time? I'm not too sure. I don't know. I can't recall. I try to make him smile every time I can. But Coach Saban's different.

Q. You've got your brother coming to Alabama. How special is that?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: That will be fun just having my brother come to the University of Alabama, or just having your family member be there, you know, it's awesome. Not only the support you get from him, but the support you get from your family as well to where, if he went to another school, it would kind of split up the family. My dad would feel like he's obligated to go see my little brother play, and my mom would feel like she's got to come see me play. Just him being here makes it easier on the family.

And I wouldn't want my brother to learn under anyone else. With him being with me, I wouldn't want him being anywhere else.

Q. (No microphone). Do you feel like your team automatically has an edge?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: No, we never go into any games with the mindset that, hey, guys, we've got this. Hey, we're going to do it. We go into the game with the mindset that we've got to play for 60 minutes. We've got to do what we need to do the entire 60 minutes to become successful. We've got to execute, and that's the only way we can become successful.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Not really because Coach Saban's not the one going out there and playing for us. He could be helping us with the play calls. Coach Locksley can be helping us with the play calls, but if we're not going out and executing it at a high level, then it wouldn't matter how they're coaching us.

Q. Tell us about your high school football days.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: My high school football days? I don't know. They were fun, but it's not as fun as college football.

Q. (No microphone)?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Am I the best Fortnite player in Alabama? I don't know. If anyone wants to one v. one me on the team, that would be neat. We should have like a Fortnite tournament like at the National Championship or something. That would be fun, but, yeah, one v. ones, that would be good because then they've got to build and they've got to shoot. It's two-in-one.

Q. How unique is it for you to be in a National Championship Game so close to Hawaii?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: It's definitely unique. There's a lot of Polynesian families. There's a lot of Polynesian people out here in the Bay Area. I have a lot of family members out here. I have a lot of family members in So Cal as well. So it's just -- the moral support, I'm grateful for it. It's awesome.

Q. How many do you expect to have here?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't know. There will probably be a lot of people.

Q. How different is this year compared to last year with your playoff experience? You were under the radar for a bit last year, and now you're front and center.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I don't know. I'm just blessed. I'm just blessed to be here.

Q. Do you approach this game any differently than you did this time last year?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'm just the starter this time. That's all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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