NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer has overcome obstacles as a professional athlete, but now he is dealing with adversity in a different way, entering year two as the head football coach at Lipscomb Academy. Right now, his main focus isn’t on himself, but instead getting his players through this unprecedented time.
“I don’t even know if I’m doing this all right, but during Spring Break and the first week they were back at school, I gave them a lot of space so there was nothing that came out of the football program except encouragement,” said Dilfer.
While each individual player was given three weeks of workouts, he didn’t want to make football the top priority. He recognizes that everyone is dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic differently, and wants to make sure these student-athletes are doing OK mentally, not just physically.
Dilfer added, “We’re trying to find those connections through Skype, Zoom or other things. I’ve had a lot of guys just reach out to me and just say ‘hello,’ checking on my family, and I’ve done the same for them.”
While his family and his players are Dilfer’s top priority right now, he’s also been spending time helping former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft.
“I run this Elite 11 Camp for quarterbacks and I really connected with Tua when he was 17 and one of the biggest recruits in the country. He appreciated my coaching because I was very honest with him. I became more of a friend-mentor during his time at Alabama and more so just another set of ears for him,” said Dilfer.
Dilfer usually stays out of the draft process, but Tua’s parents, Diane and Galu Tagovailoa reached out to him, so he counted helping Tua as an exception.
“He has to come off these injuries he’s had, prove that he’s healthy, make up for lost time and impress his future employer, which is the NFL. We’ve had to balance a lot of stuff and I couldn’t be more impressed with how he’s handled it,” added Dilfer.
Dilfer emphasized that Tua is a very unique player and person, referring to this process as ‘fine tuning’ a Maserati. He isn’t making any big changes, instead just helping Tua become more efficient with his movements so he can stay healthy and compete for a starting job in the NFL.
And speaking of Tua’s recent hip injury, Dilfer feels that he is actually way healthier than anyone could’ve expected at this point.
“He had full clearance to go three weeks ago and was rechecked again and has only gotten better. The more work we give him, he keeps passing every test,” said Dilfer.
And while doctors still haven’t diagnosed Tua as being 100 percent, Dilfer thinks he could play in a game today.
Dilfer said, “He’s better now than the day before he got hurt. He’s a better athlete, he’s leaner, more efficient and more stable and mobile. He’s moving and throwing better than ever.”
While Tua has been training in Nashville, he is expected to be back in Alabama for the upcoming NFL Draft which takes place April 23 – 25.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
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