HOOVER — Everybody talks about it in team sports. Coaches look for it, and apparently players need it. There also can be a direct correlation between wins and losses and teams that have good leadership and ones that don’t.
Expect Alabama to have a pair of high-profile leaders this season. Linebacker Dylan Moses and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa each talked about their leadership qualities and what being a leader is about Wednesday on the third day of SEC Football Kickoff Media Days.
Given the positions they play, it seems natural that they would assume leadership roles. As a highly regarded quarterback, Tagovailoa runs the offense and players look to him to make plays.
Moses will be the Crimson Tide’s middle linebacker and in charge of calling the defense. He describes his role on the field as the “quarterback of the defense.”
“Playing middle linebacker, you have to be very vocal, be a leader,” he said. “You have to be able to take the backlash if something goes wrong. You accept it and move forward. You have to have a short memory. As far as me playing that role, I think I am ready for it. That’s what I was motivated to be since I was a freshman.”
Moses said although he has always considered himself a leader, he feels as if he has grown in that role.
“I was already a leader, but it was a lead-by-example type leader,” he said. “Now I am being more vocal. It’s not me yelling at guys, but me trying to understand them, trying to reason with them whether it is personal life stuff or just football stuff. It’s like being that guy they can come to.”
Most quarterbacks exhibit the leadership qualities needed to take charge of the offense, and Tagovailoa is no different. However, he said becoming a leader is an ongoing process.
“I still think I have to prove my role as being a leader on the team,” he told a throng of media members. “Being able to play earns respect, but who you are and having a good relationship with these guys is what is going to carry through.”
He said forging relationships with all of his teammates is the most important aspect of leadership.
“Football is going only going to be there for me and for these other guys for so long, but the relationships I have been able to build with my teammates and everyone around, I think that will be the biggest thing for us.”
Doing the little things, he said, are essential in becoming a team leader.
“Showing up for breakfast and lunch and whoever is in there you go sit with them and build a relationship with them,” he said. “Going into the training room, even though I don’t have to go in there, go in there and build more relationships with guys. The little things like that, doing it one teammate at a time, you never know if you can affect them and make a difference in them.”
In turn, Tagovailoa said, those players can reciprocate with other players.
The goal, of course, is to have everybody on the same page and following Alabama’s two high-profile leaders. How well they do in their leadership roles will likely show up in how far the Crimson Tide goes this season.