Tua and Trevor: Title game quarterbacks set to face off
|Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 7:01 AM- -|
Tua and Trevor on the big stage.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence won’t be on the field at the same time next Monday when their respective teams meet in Santa Clara, but the eyes of the nation will be on the duo as they try to lead their teams to a National Championship.
For the third time in four seasons, the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers will square off in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Kickoff from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., is set for 8 p.m. ET, Monday, Jan. 7. The Crimson Tide are six-point favorites with the total at 59.5 in the latest Alabama vs. Clemson odds.
Tagovailoa said he doesn’t know Lawrence personally.
“I haven't really gotten the opportunity to speak with him or get to know him on a personal level, but I think he's done a tremendous job with handling the quarterback situation they've had, you know, early in the season,” Tagovailoa said.
Lawrence says he’s met the Alabama signal caller one time.
“One time we were out in California for Steve Clarkson's camp thing, this past summer, and I saw him out there,” Lawrence said. “We didn't talk a ton, but we introduced ourselves and just talked for a minute, and he seems like a really good guy, but I didn't really get to talk too much to him.”
Tagovailoa says he’s been impressed with what Lawrence has been able to accomplish this season.
“I think he's done a tremendous job throughout the season keeping composure throughout the season, and going out there and helping his team become successful,” Tagovailoa said. “You know, at the age that he is, coming in as a freshman, to be able to handle everything he is the way he is, I think he's doing a tremendous job, and he's got really good guys surrounding him, as well, on that offense, and I just think overall he's done a tremendous job throughout this point in the season.”
Lawrence said the key to his season has been that he has let his play do his talking.
“I think it was just one of those things, you just have to earn respect and just kind of show what you can do and prove yourself a little bit, but coming in, I would say the biggest thing is not to be that guy that's cocky and comes in and thinks he's going to do all these things,” Lawrence said. “You can be confident, but I think it's just got to show through how you play and all that stuff instead of what you say. So I think just coming in and kind of going to work and not really worrying about anything else and just doing what -- just controlling what I can control and doing what I thought was best.
“Just gradually earning the respect of my teammates and just kind of showing what I can do I think has helped me earn their respect, and now to this point, I feel like everyone on the team is really close and we're hitting our stride at the right time.”
Lawrence earned Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP honors in the Tigers’ win over Notre Dame last Saturday, and he said he could learn a lot from his bowl experience.
“I thought it went well. I think definitely there could be some challenges as far as just not being focused if you don't really know what you're there for as far as getting caught up in all the other stuff,” he said. “But I think our team did a great job of focusing. I think we had one of the best weeks of practice we've had all season, and we were really locked in and I knew what we were out there for, and we had a good time, and we enjoyed everything else, but ultimately we knew what we were there for, and I think the guys and the coaches did a great job of keeping us all locked in.”
Now the Tigers have to be locked in on a tough Alabama defense.
“They're just a great defense all the way around. Alabama every year always has a good defense, and I think it's going to be a challenge, obviously,” Lawrence said. “But I mean, I think the biggest thing is just they have great players. They have length in the secondary and speed, obviously. But every position they've got good players, so we'll get that broken down, and the coaches have already been working on that, I'm sure, so we'll get in there probably today, and I'll get a look at that.”