News Does ascent of Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa signal end of dumbed-down college quarterbacks?

12gage

Verified Member
#1
Could that final gorgeous play by Bama's freshman phenom quarterback herald a renaissance of college quarterbacks who can both run when necessary but also read secondaries and manipulate them to make throws downfield? Are we finally at the termination point of the read-option orgy? Only time will tell, but Tua Togavailoa gives us hope.


Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) sets to pass during the second half of College Football Playoff championship game against Georgia on Monday in Atlanta.

AP/David J. Phillip



As the final pass on the final play of the college football season zinged out of Tua Tagovailoa’s left hand, you could practically hear it fizz.

You know what I mean if you’ve ever been in close physical proximity to a quarterback who can spin the ball that way. It has a sound to it, the hiss of a thousand tiny leather nipples carving through the air. When you hear the sound, you always see the wondrous accompanying image – a football going phooom in a graceful arc at velocity as if a guided missile.



I’m old, so when I saw the Hawai`ian kid throw that ball, I thought of Joe Namath. To me, he and John Elway will always be the gold standard for guys who could propel a football that way. It just exploded out of his hand as if it carried its own energy.

That’s how beautiful that throw was. I’ve seen longer throws that won games, even on the last play. But I can’t recall seeing a college freshman who not only flung it like that but looked off the throw-side safety in a cover-two for a good two beats before he threw it. It was an NFL throw in every way.




The prettiest and quickest release in football history? Elway might've been the pinnacle, but I'll still take Broadway Joe.

AP photo

Which brings us to the potential impact of Tua Tagovailoa. He’s not big for a pocket quarterback (and yes he can run, too), only a smidge over 6 feet. We don’t even know if he’ll end up as the starting QB on his own team next fall, but I’m asking the question:

Is this the quarterback who changes college football?

Specifically, is Tagovailoa the one who shifts us away from a numbing succession of decade upon decade of bland handoff widgets on power-running-and-defense teams and “dual-threat” read-option keepers and returns us to the days of Brady and Manning and Brees and Marino and Young – great pro-style college quarterbacks who came to the NFL ready to run a professional offense?

I sure as hell hope so. Not only does the NFL need this shift, college football needs it simply to escape the read-option monotony.

And, just to be clear, I understand that the NFL is necessarily morphing its offenses to accommodate mobile quarterbacks and infusing its own game with some college concepts. I think the future of the league will be in the hands of hybrid QBs, the first of whom was actually probably Steve Young, 30 years ago.


Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws against the Tennessee Titans during the second half on Oct. 1 in Houston.

AP/Eric Christian Smith

We now have analytical athletes like Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Marcus Mariota who can run but don’t have to. Who know when to use their athletic gifts but don’t depend on them. They will know how to read complex defenses and throw with pocket presence.

Tagovailoa, and what I think will be his college success, might be one who can change college football back to a game where QBs are the brains of the game, not just athletes or game managers.



That, of course, will require a change in the coaches. It takes a commitment from them to be willing to teach something more than a 10-play read-option offense to robotic quarterbacks umbilical-corded to sideline cards. Because it’s so easy to run. So long as your QB is athletic, even a freshman can do it. He’s already run the same offense in high school. He can win with it in college.

And that makes the head coaches lots of money. Why would they take the trouble to run a more complex and nuanced offense with all the attendant trouble of teaching their QBs to read back-end defenses?


Willie Taggart (center) installed a simple read-option offense for Quinton Flowers (9) at South Florida that made the quarterback a national star, won the Bulls a lot of games and eventually made the coach a lot of money at his next two stops, Oregon and now Florida State. But will Flowers ever play in the NFL? Not as a quarterback.

AP photo

Just as an example, look at Willie Taggart and how he’s job-hopped into the elite pay scale in just five years running the simplest form of read-option – from Western Kentucky to South Florida to Oregon to Florida State. If you can progress from $500K to $5M a year that quickly, why bother?

That’s where Nick Saban comes in. He is the new Bear Bryant, the one every aspiring coach wants to emulate. If he ditches pocket-challenged dual-threat Jalen Hurts for Tua Tagovailoa in 2018 and runs a more pro-style offense – and if it works – could we not see more colleges abandoning the Urban Meyer/Rich Rodriguez template and attempting to do the same?

It’ll be awfully interesting to find out. I just wanna see more guys who can manipulate a defense and zing it down the field.

Tua might just be the embodiment of a new-age quarterback who’s emulated across the sport, who changes it like Steph Curry did basketball. I think the time is ripe.


Alabama freshman quarterback Tua Togavailoa (13) stands calmly with his center Bradley Bozeman (75) after winning the College Football Playoff championship in Atlanta.

AP photo
 

TUSKtimes

Riding The Wave
#3
The short answer is no. Tua is the exception to the rule and to listen to Joey Galloway after the game explain that a lot of NFL QBs don't have the savvy to look defenders off like Tua did is saying a lot about this youngster's skill set.
 
#4
Come on....Tua made many bad plays....and I know several great ones...
I think everyone needs to refasten the jock strap...and dont declare him as king..
Personally...I am staying with Jalan.....
 

sk33tr

el jefe
HARRY'S
#6
i've heard that competition breeds excellence.

maybe this will get Jalen to see the field a bit better before committing. he has a good arm (not great, but good) and he's a great runner. BUT...his field vision is lacking at most times. if he could get that on higher level, there'll be no stopping him. and then, having someone like Tua as the #2? talk about unbeatable.....
 

TUSKtimes

Riding The Wave
#7
i've heard that competition breeds excellence.

maybe this will get Jalen to see the field a bit better before committing. he has a good arm (not great, but good) and he's a great runner. BUT...his field vision is lacking at most times. if he could get that on higher level, there'll be no stopping him. and then, having someone like Tua as the #2? talk about unbeatable.....

I honestly think that Tua has a better chance of running like Jalen than Jalen throwing like Tua. Tua spent the better part of the last play of the game staring down a safety and with just a flinch, torqued his body back to the sideline at the very last second and without seeing the receiver it was gone for 41 yards. And the broken play stuff is just more feel and react. The circle button move Tua showed in the Vandy game where he's coming out of a spin and can still identify a receiver in a nano-second and in the same nano the ball was gone, was just nuts. Tua's on automatic pilot. Not sure Tua can explain it.
 
#8
I honestly think that Tua has a better chance of running like Jalen than Jalen throwing like Tua. Tua spent the better part of the last play of the game staring down a safety and with just a flinch, torqued his body back to the sideline at the very last second and without seeing the receiver it was gone for 41 yards. And the broken play stuff is just more feel and react. The circle button move Tua showed in the Vandy game where he's coming out of a spin and can still identify a receiver in a nano-second and in the same nano the ball was gone, was just nuts. Tua's on automatic pilot. Not sure Tua can explain it.
IMHO it is known as having the INSTINCTS of a quarterback, which most likely Jalen will never learn. Jalen has the instincts of a running back.