TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was named a starter on Monday, not just at his regular position, but also at holder.
Consequently, he couldn't help but have a little fun when asked about it.
“Yeah, you know, I spend more time practicing my holding more than I actually do my throwing," he said.
(Alabama official listening in to the interview: "He’s joking.")
“Holding is actually a really, really hard thing," Tagovailoa continued, undaunted. "I literally think that’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Holding is really hard. Like to match what the center put the ball down and the laces are facing forward. That’s not an easy task. Now if it’s in the back and you have to rotate it, sometimes you rotate it and the ball slips off your finger that’s holding it. I mean, it’s hard.
"I think of a situation where let’s say it’s 6-6 and it’s the fourth quarter and I have to go out there to hold and we have to kick a field goal and there’s two seconds left. I’m thinking if I catch the ball and it’s not matched and I have to spin it and it goes off my fingers, that’s going to be my fault. So I’ve been working on that a good amount. I think, to answer your question, why I am the starting holder … that’s probably pretty easy. It’s because I catch the ball all the time as the quarterback and they trust me.”
So how important are the laces?
“Oh, it’s very important to me," Tagovailoa said. "I think it’s important. I don’t really know to the kicker. I don’t really ask him if the laces are important or not. I just know I have to tilt it towards my side a little. But yeah, it was really hard getting this job. I just really want to thank everyone who has been supporting me throughout this whole process with trying to get the holding position. I just thank my lord and savior, Jesus Christ. It was hard. But we made it through, guys.”