This year’s National Championship Game between Alabama and Clemson has the makings to be one of the best in recent times. They both have excellent defenses and mobile quarterbacks. The experience of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and their style of play on offense gives the advantage to Clemson. The overall debt and talent of Alabama’s defense gives the advantage to Alabama. I think special teams is a toss-up. Normally you would think the coaching advantage would go to 5-time National Championship coach Nick Sabin. However, most people gave that advantage to 3-time National Championship Coach Urban Meyer last week when Ohio State played Clemson. We see how that worked out!!
We know both teams will be highly motivated because of what’s at stake. However, as a coach you are always looking for that extra “factor” that might help your team.
Here, I think the advantage goes to Clemson because of a couple of reasons.
- The “underdog” factor. Clemson head coach Dabo Sweeney can use the old, “it’s us against the world” line. This one is always good for an extra shot of adrenaline.
- The “confidence” factor. With Clemson scoring 40 pts. against last year’s Nick Sabin defense. If it weren’t for the successful onside kick by Alabama, many feel that Clemson would have won the game.
One of the interesting subplots in Alabama’s favor is new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. He was Florida States defensive coordinator in 2013 when they won the National Championship. That year Florida State beat Clemson in Clemson 51-14. While Clemson’s offense has changed some, it is still very similar to what they ran in 2013. Both offensive co-coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott were on the staff, but were only assistants.
There’s no doubt the game will be won by the players on the field, but it will be interesting to see if these mental aspects of the game will be a factor.
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