The Cold Hard Truth: On Sports

Four Things to Look for in the CFP National Championship

Four Things to Look for in the CFP National Championship

By James Bell


Alabama and Clemson are about to play each other again for the College Football Playoff National Championship. The Crimson Tide were able to defeat the Tigers 45-40 in Glendale, Arizona last season and they look to do it again to repeat as national champions and complete and undefeated season. Here are a few things to look for during the game.


Look for Jalen Hurts to make adjustments later in the game

In a few of the games that Alabama had this season, their freshman quarterback struggled in the first half of games which either led to them trailing at the half (Ole Miss) and being tied at 0-0 (LSU). For Alabama to come back in those games, Hurts had to gather himself and play smart so that he would not make any mistakes and keep the ball in the hands of the offense. This was evident in the LSU game when he was able to score the only touchdown, and in the Ole Miss game where he was able to account for 304 total yards. Clemson’s defense is the biggest challenge that he has seen all season, and that includes LSU. If he gets rattled early, it will be important for him to stay poised while the game is getting closer to an end.

The defense covering from sideline to sideline

Last year, Clemson was able to score 40 points and rack up a lot of yards due to the athletes they had on the skill positions on offense. Hunter Renfoe had 2 touchdowns in the game, Jordan Leggett did fairly well at the tight end spot, and Deshaun Watson accounted for nearly 500 yards of total offense and four touchdowns. This year, the offense has all of their skill position players back from last year and two receivers (Mike Williams and Deon Cain) did not play in Glendale. Now they will be lining up against a defensive back squad that doesn’t have Eddie Jackson who has been out for weeks due to injury. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey along with Ronnie Harrison and Anthony Averett will have to step up against the receiving core plus have All-American Ruben Foster and Ryan Anderson either cover the tight ends and running backs or mix the blitz scheme to frustrate Watson in the pocket.


Create turnovers on defense

We all know about the Alabama defense causing turnovers, and scoring touchdowns. In this game, the Clemson defense will have to make plays and try to force turnovers on the Alabama offense. The Tide did not have any turnovers in the game last year, and that will be something that defensive coordinator Brett Venebles will try to instill in this defense to get the ball from the Tide. The front seven has athletes that can get to the line of scrimmage fairly quick, like All-American Carlos Watkins, Cleland Ferrell and 2nd team All-American Ben Boulware. If they are able to get pressure on the offensive line of Alabama, then they could have a shot to get a turnover or two.

Get Wayne Gallman the ball by any means necessary

One other thing about the Alabama defense is that they hardly allow running backs to have success against them. For the 2nd straight season, they have led the country in rushing defense with this year allowing a shade over 63 yards a game. Gallman will have to be fed the ball early and often, plus get ways to receive the ball from the backfield in order to open up the defense. Watson does (and will) utilize the run-pass option in the game, but success by the running back is vital to Clemson having their best chance to winning this game.

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