As the Miami Dolphins season has recently come to an end with a 56-26 defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, fans and evaluators have a natural break to take a step back and review QB Tua Tagovailoa’s first season in the NFL. But former NFL QB and Elite 11 head coach Trent Dilfer has known Tagovailoa for many years, and has a front row seat for the young player’s development even before he reached the NFL.
Dilfer spent some time with GMTM’s Joey Grant and Max Browne to discuss the former Super Bowl winning quarterback’s approach to hosting Tagovailoa’s virtual Pro Day, amidst pandemic related safety concerns and the former Alabama star’s recovery from a serious hip injury. Browne brought up the fact that Tagovailoa’s Pro Day was among the most anticipated in recent NFL Draft memory, and wondered aloud about the pressure and challenges Dilfer faced in making sure the lefty signalcaller had a chance to showcase his ability after not having played a game since November 2019.
“These workouts were massive for him,” Dilfer admitted. “The first day when he was cleared to be on his feet and throw(after Alabama’s season ended), I had about a twelve throw script for him. I was going to be cautious and slow with his training. He ended up throwing 80 balls that day, he’s just a throw junkie. His hip was great.”
As it related to the schedule Dilfer created to help Tagovailoa make some cosmetic changes to his mechanics, there was a lot of due diligence and input from many people around the future 5th overall pick as to how to best handle his lead up to the NFL Draft.
“He had great physicians in Alabama. Here in Nashville as well, my strength coach Luke Richardson(formerly of the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans) knows a lot about mobility, and put him on a careful entry level plan. We only did what the doctors said we could do,” Dilfer revealed.
Later on in the segment, GMTM focused on the relationship Dilfer fostered with Tagovailoa even before he became a household name at Alabama, and the evolution the older quarterback witnesses in his star pupil. But Dilfer actually brought up the fact that despite his collegiate success, and his high draft pick selection in the NFL, Tua has largely remained the same person as it relates to his work ethic, personality, and approach to life.
“He’s still a great leader. He just has his presence about him where he makes others around him feel better about themselves,” the Elite 11 head coach said.
Dilfer ended the segment by providing some advice to other quarterbacks who may want, or may need to have a virtual Pro Day in the coming months. He mentioned that the physical throwing and catching highlights are generally the easy parts of putting something like this together, and challenged players to show command in three areas:
· Command of Yourself
· Command of The Ball
· Command Of The People Around You