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Jumbo Package: Crimson Tide to face a very different, more deliberative Clemson offense

This ain’t Deshaun Watson’s Clemson Tigers

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NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Miami
Sure, Kelly Bryan is athletic, but can he make the plays with his arm to get the Tigers past the Tide?
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

This is definitely not last year’s Clemson offense. Sure, Kelly Bryant will still try to take his shots downfield, but it is not a terrifying passing offense led by a transcendentally talented quarterback. The CFB hub breaks down what Clemson does this year, and, fortunately for Alabama, it’s more of what we’ve seen from the Crimson Tide under Lane Kiffin. Nothing here will be, or should be, new. Making the right read, playing with discipline, and making the initial tackle will be important. Mistackles have been an issue this season, and no where was that as evident as the 13 whiffs against Auburn that led directly to five additional third down conversions for the Tigers.

Anyway, good read and film breakdown:

Last year’s Clemson was at its best when spreading the field from 11 personnel (one RB, one TE, and three WRs), with TE Jordan Leggett, slot Hunter Renfrow, and WR Mike Williams splitting the attention.

Now Clemson uses fewer offensive snaps per game, but runs the ball 1.5 times more than last year. Without Watson to lead the passing game, Clemson is now more of a spread-option team that asks Bryant to make quick decisions in the run game, to get the ball to speedy skill players on the perimeter:

Andrew Bone breaks down Alabama’s early signing period. That is gearing up heavily this week, and Alabama is could sign 11 of its 14 commitments (so far) this December.

More and more players are sitting out bowl games. And, despite the rosy narrative painted here, the practice is still controversial, especially with coaches, managers and vets at the next level. For now, far more stars choose to play than sit out. I think Bruce Arians summarized the tension here: it’s not about the players or coaches or teammates; it’s about advice from agents, whose paydays are contingent on delivering the healthiest sacrifice product athlete possible in April’s draft.

No one wants to hear this, but there are other people’s livelihoods at stake here, including those of their teammates and the coaches that developed them for the last several years. It strikes me as bad form. Want to end it? Just put bowl participation in their aid letters. Increasingly players want playing to be treated on a contractual basis: fine, then healthy self-scratches are a breach of those terms. Simple. They sit out, then sue them for a fractional amount of their aid and in-kind benefits, including all consequential and special damages. Want to be treated as adults? Following through with legal obligations is one of those things adults must do.

Do I want it to come down to playing hard ass with college students? Not really. But, the option exists if this becomes a growing issue. There is simply too much money at stake, including television rights, for the practice to grow unabated: And, I assure you, it won’t. This will be corrected for before the next round of network money is negotiated for.

He’s only played a third of a season, and Collin Sexton is already nearing “Alabama legend” territory.

Sexton scored 30 points in Alabama's 88-82 loss to Arizona on Saturday, already giving him two games with 30-plus points in this young season. The SEC's current scoring leader, Sexton (21.8 ppg) set an Alabama freshman record with 40 points in an 89-84 loss to Minnesota last month.

To put things in perspective, only 18 Alabama players had previously enjoyed two 30-point games in a season since the early 1950s.

Enjoy him for another 25 games or so; he’s been fun.

DWAGS gonna DWAG. In the last two weeks, Georgia has had three players arrested on everything from DUI to counterfeiting. Mark Richt has still lost control at Georgia.

Where does Nick Saban’s recruiting success come from? By the good old fashioned expedient of out-working his competition. There is no magic bullet, no ‘crooting panacea: sometimes you have to just put in the hours.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is up for yet another award.

“Jason Witten was named the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2012, and now his foundation is attempting to start a similar honor for college football.”

Presented annually to the Division I college football player who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field. The award honors the type of exemplary character and commitment to community, family and teammates demonstrated by Jason Witten, the 2012 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year and one of the most prominent role models in the game.

This is a really cool concept, and I can’t imagine a more deserving finalist.

Pat Forde and Co. grade all the offseason hires -- seems more rehashed conventional wisdom than actual honest assessments. But, they’re right on one thing: Jeremy Pruitt may have been a hire that sits well with Vol fans, but it’s hardly the splash you’d expect from a team with some sense of urgency.

What were the 20 best games of a pretty tame 2017? ESPN takes a stab.

LSU is losing OL coach Jeff Grimes. That may be iffy news for Alabama if Orgeron hires someone competent (Though I honestly don’t know enough about Clegg to comment.) Alabama has dominated the Tigers up front since Grimes arrived in Baton Rouge via Auburn.

Finally, there’s a lot of smoke around Alabama (probably) hiring UTSA’s defensive coordinator Pete Golding. The expectation is that he would coach DBs with the Tide, a position presently filled by Derrick Ansley. This seems to suggest that Ansley would bump up to LBs and Lupoi to DC, right? Or, that’s one possibility, at the least.

Golding is a great young coach that has done a sterling job with the Roadrunners. In his second season, UTSA is in the Top 25 in just about every major defensive category. And, his impact last season upon hiring was immediate:

His defense set several school records, including single-season standards for tackles (934), tackles for loss (77), sacks (27) and quarterback hurries (38). Individually, linebacker Josiah Tauaefa broke UTSA's season record for tackles with 115 en route to becoming the program's first Freshman All-American (Football Writers Association of America) and collecting Conference USA Freshman of the Year and first-team all-conference honors. Defensive end Marcus Davenport and safety Michael Egwuagu were named second-team all-conference and safety Jordan Moore was honorable mention.

Many wonder where that next generation of great young defensive coaches are going to come from: Golding has that potential, for sure. A stint with Saban would only elevate his growing reputation.


It’s a slow week across the country, as its finals week for a lot of folks, including Alabama. Things should pick back up in about 4-5 days with Early Signing Day, the return of Alabama basketball, the start of bowl games, and a return to practice for the Tide. If you haven’t already, sign up for the RBNR Bowl Pick ‘Em!

Go forth to evil.