Your Tigers are National Champions for the second time in three years and first 15-0 team since 1897. The giant that the entire SEC and college football world tried to slay for the past 11 years falls to little old Clemson. Dabo improves to 2-2 against Saban. Brent Venables is clearly the best defensive coordinator in college football. Jeff Scott can tell Desmond Howard to say his name anytime he wants. But not just a close win, a total knockout.
Dr. B will write Reaction Post as usual, but I wanted to put this out there as well. Before we get into the game, and we’ll have all off-season to enjoy this, I would like to point out something. The Kraken isn’t right just because he knows football extremely well, but because he puts the work in. That much work takes sacrifice and I’m very thankful for the great job he does week in and week out.
First, the offensive line was excellent in protecting Trevor Lawrence. Mitch Hyatt, our left tackle for the past four years, kept him clean. We can bring in 5 star OT’s, but we shouldn’t expect such consistency and dependability over the course of 4 years. He came in when we desperately needed a LT and he leaves as part of the senior class that has won the most in history. That’s legendary. Caldwell took a lot of ridiculous crap at the beginning of the year with people missing that this is the best offensive line of the Dabo era, probably going back to 2006 or before. He’s a fantastic offensive line coach.
The Power Rangers came to play. They took over the game and completely disrupted Tua Tagovailoa. It’s not that Tua was off. He started off hot and stayed hot for the first half. The pressure got to him and that second pick may have affected his confidence, or at least Saban’s. Credit Nick Saban for going for it around his own 35-yard line on fourth down. He knew he was in trouble and made a call to try to win the game. The leadership by Wilkins, Ferrell, Lawrence, and Bryant is special. Getting everyone to buy in can’t be done by the coaches. It takes leadership by the players and the Power Rangers deserve a huge amount of credit.
Trevor Lawrence is generationally good. Yeah, we say stuff like this all the time, but he’s special. It was not fair to have those expectations of him at the beginning of the season; half of 5-star QB’s transfer. See Justin Fields. He more than surpassed them. He’s helped by a very good OL, RB, and incredible WR’s. It was good to see Trevion Thompson with a couple catches after sticking with the team. Justyn Ross is unbelievable, though. He has first round written all over him and having him around for a couple more years is ridiculous, especially with Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers next year.
Our secondary played lights out. Trayvon Mullen and AJ Terrell were dominant. Mark Fields had the game of his life, making plays on the ball repeatedly. It was awesome to see. 5-heart Nolan Turner took over for Muse early in the game. I don’t expect perfection. He held up great in coverage and looks like a starter for next year. Even Spiers had the game of his life: 3 punts averaging 44 yards.
Credit the coaches and team for hanging tough and getting the team focused after it looked like we would be in a shootout in Q1. Getting that early lead and having Alabama play from behind was huge. They had 3 turnovers on downs within Clemson’s 25-yard line and went for it on fourth 6 times.
Dabo powered up the Clemson program with his second National Championship. He is now one of two coaches with multiple Natty’s. Recruiting is about to go crazy. He did it his way. He deserves every benefit of the doubt from who he recruits to who he hires. Not to say he’s above criticism, but only one other coach is winning like him. He’s taken the program to all-time highs and the best is yet to come.