National Champions

National Champions

Sunday, December 31, 2017

1 Day Until Kickoff! Remembering The College Football Playoff Journey

1 Day Until Kickoff! 
Remembering The Journey With College Football Playoffs! 
National Championship In Tampa, Florida Part III




The Tigers took their first lead, 28-24, with 4:38 left in the fourth quarter when Wayne Gallman surged in from a yard out.  




Tiger Pregame Show Promotional Video Vs. Alabama In Tampa, Florida https://youtu.be/jDqbY7iNclA  


The Tide's offense, which had gone dormant for most of the second half, came to life with the help of a sweet call from newly promoted offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Receiver ArDarius Stewart took a backward pass from Jalen Hurts and fired a strike to O.J. Howard for 24 yards. 

On the next play, Hurts broke free from a collapsing pocket and weaved through defenders for a 30-yard touchdown run to make it 31-28 with 2:07 left. 




"I was calm," Watson said. He said he thought about Vince Young's last-second touchdown for Texas that derailed the Southern California's championship run in the 2005 championship game at the Rose Bowl. He told his team: "Let's go be great." 

Watson hooked up with Williams and Jordan Leggett, who made great catches for big gains to get to first-and-goal with 14 seconds left. A pass interference on Alabama made it first-and-goal at the 2 with six seconds left. Time for one more play to avoid a game-tying kick and overtime. 

Renfrow slipped away from the defense at the goal line with the help of some traffic created by Artavis Scott -- -- and was alone for an easy toss.


Alabama was 4-0 in national championship games under Saban. It was 106-6 in games it led at half and 96-0 when entering the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead as the Tide did that night. 

Clemson overcame all those odds. When it ended, Clemson's 315-pound defensive lineman Christian Wilkins did a split and a cartwheel and Ben Boulware, one of the toughest linebackers in the country, was in tears. 


The Tigers had snapped Alabama's 26-game winning streak and beaten a No. 1 team for the first time ever. "It's been 35 long years!" Boulware screamed. "It's coming home baby! It's coming home!" Last season Alabama met its match in Clemson, but prevailed. This time, Clemson made sure the sequel had a different ending. 

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December 31st Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Old Memorial Bridge, Then and Now 


(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts) 

Today’s photos are of the old "Memorial Bridge" that was a familiar landmark for years around the Clemson area until lake Hartwell was built. You can see Tillman Hall in the below right of the picture. 

The lake was created in 1963 when the Hartwell Dam was built on the Savannah River Basin seven miles below the point at which the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers join to form the Savannah. 

The Memorial Bridge, before the flooding of the lake, was the method of transportation over the river. Here you can see the inscription on the bridge. 


This picture and graphic shows the location of the bridge along the old road (Highway 123). 


Back in 2008 when the lake hit record levels of drought, the Memorial Bridge once again saw the light of day. Here is a picture of the remains of the bridge during that drought. 


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Saturday, December 30, 2017

2 Days Until Kickoff! Remembering The College Football Playoff Journey

2 Days Until Kickoff! 
Remembering The Journey With College Football Playoffs! 
National Championship In Tampa, Florida Part II



The new champions have a process of their own that includes a loquacious coach who can turn a postgame interview into a fiery sermon, a spectacular quarterback who did not need a Heisman Trophy to show he was the best player in the country and a fun-loving team that plays with a chip on its shoulder.

Tiger Pregame Show Promotional Video Vs. Alabama In Tampa, Florida https://youtu.be/jDqbY7iNclA 

The lead changed hands three times in the fourth quarter, but Watson got the ball last. Playing in his final college game, the junior quarterback threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns. In two games against Alabama and the most ferocious defense in college football, Watson has thrown for 825 yards and accounted for eight touchdowns. 



Watson was sacked four times and took some cringe-inducing shots from All-Americans Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster, but stood tall and delivered with the game on the line.

Dabo Swinney, the native Alabaman and former Crimson Tide walk-on receiver, has built an elite program at Clemson that was missing only one thing. Now the Tigers can check that box, too. 



Watson found Mike Williams for a 4-yard touchdown a minute into the fourth quarter to make it 24-21 Alabama. 



Stay tuned for Part III tomorrow.

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December 30th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Downtown Clemson In 1950’s


(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today’s photo is of downtown Clemson in the late 1950’s facing towards campus and Tillman Hall.

We can date the photo to sometime around 1959 because of the movie that is playing in the Clemson Movie House in the photo.

The Hanging Tree is a 1959 movie directed by Delmer Daves. Karl Malden took over directing duties for several days when Daves fell ill. The film stars Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, George C. Scott and Malden and is set in the gold fields of Montana during the gold rush of the 1860s and 1870s.

You can also notice a long gone gas station in the right side of the photo, Sinclair Oil Corporation.

Sinclair Oil Corporation is an American petroleum corporation, founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916, as the Sinclair Oil and Refining Corporation by combining the assets of 11 small petroleum companies. Originally a New York corporation, Sinclair Oil reincorporated in Wyoming in 1976.

The corporation's logo features the silhouette of a large green dinosaur.


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Credit to wikipedia

Friday, December 29, 2017

December 29th Clemson Offenvie Player Quotes

The Tiger Pregame Show
January 1st, 2018
1:30-4:30 Central Time
2:30-5:30 Eastern Time
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2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl - Clemson Co-Offensive Coordinator
Jeff Scott Quotes - 12-29-17

Q. Can you talk about the excitement to be here in New Orleans and what it means to this program to be back after some fifty‑plus years?

COACH SCOTT: Yeah, it's very exciting. Coach Swinney kind of has this special skill or talent of maybe predicting the future. And at the very beginning of the year, he always starts off his talk with a bunch of numbers. And he kind of uses those numbers as goals for our season.  And one of those numbers was the number of years since Clemson had been to the Sugar Bowl. And that was one of our goals from the very beginning in August, and it's great to be here. 

I think our players and coaches understand the history of the Sugar Bowl. The last time I was here was actually as a coach's kid. My dad was coaching Florida State, and they played here in 1989 against Auburn. So I have great memories of that. I was 8, 9 years old running around. It's great to be back as a coach at a historical bowl game.

Q. Alabama is doing well on the defensive side of the ball. What do you see differently from them this season than you saw from them last year in the championship game?

COACH SCOTT: There are a few new faces and new names but the same results. Schematically, they're very similar to what they've done the last two years. I think the best teams know what they want to do and they do it well.  And I think probably the same could be said about us offensively. We're not a whole lot different than maybe who we've been the last two years.

But, you know, it's very impressive that with some of the departures they've had over the last few years defensively that there's no drop‑off whatsoever. Very physical. They make you earn everything. There are no free plays out there. Literally every run and every pass completion, there's a guy right there ‑‑ 

So the biggest thing for us is really to focus on ourselves. We got a lot of respect for our opponents. But part of our plan is really focusing on our execution and to be sure that we go out and give ourselves the best chance to be successful.

Q. Do you see the progression of Kelly [Bryant]? Do you see a different guy each and every week that's gone out and gotten better to be ready for this moment in this situation? 

COACH SCOTT: Yeah, I think the biggest difference from where he was the first 2 1/2 years to where he showed up in August, he was a different player, a different quarterback, the confidence that he had, the ability to throw the ball, understanding what we're doing offensively. It was really night and day from where he was, even in the past spring. 

Once the season started, I think obviously being a first‑year starter, there's a lot of lessons that you learn each and every week. But really from our perspective, he's been the same all year long. That's one of the reasons that we're sitting here today, is because of his consistency. That's one of the best traits that you can have in your quarterback, is some that's very consistent and doesn't play up or play down in certain games, in certain moments. 

He's just been very consistent. Whatever we've asked him to do in order to win a game, he's done it. In some games, we've thrown it a little bit more. In some games, we've asked him to run the ball and do different things. And he's always risen to that challenge. And I think it's quite remarkable for him his first year to play the way he has and lead this team.

Q. Coach, can you talk about the respect you have for Minkah Fitzpatrick.

COACH SCOTT: Great player. Kind of over the last few years we've had the opportunity to play a lot of great players and guys that we respect and have a great skill set. I think he's probably one of the most complete players that we've studied over the last few years. Very technically sound. He doesn't get out of position very much at all. He uses his hands very well. He has his eyes in the right spot. And not only does he know what they want to do defensively, you can tell he spends a lot of time in the film room. He anticipates things very well. And I definitely would say is one of the best players that we have faced in the past and probably will this year.

Q. Talking to Jalen Hurts yesterday, he's glad now that he has that year under his belt as opposed to starting in this type of game last year as a true freshman. Do you have any concerns with Kelly [Bryant] now that the stakes are getting higher? I know he was in the ACC championship. Is there any question marks how he will handle it because the stakes are getting higher?

COACH SCOTT: For us, not really because this has kind of become the norm. That's a great spot to be. I would say four, five years ago we couldn't sit up here and say that playing in a playoff game is the norm. 

I know this is his first playoff game. Really, the playoff for us started when we played Auburn, it felt like. We just had so many big games this year and even in the past, big games where everything is on the line. And we played some very talented teams and talented defenses. 

But, again, the message that Coach Swinney has really instilled in our guys is it's not about who we play. It's not about where we play. It's not about what time we play. It's about how we play and it's about us. And all those other factors really should not have any implication on our success. We control our success. That's really the mind‑set that our guys have.

So we have a lot of confidence in Kelly. We've got other guys. Justin Falcinelli starts at center. It's his first time playing in a playoff game. Really that's not been our focus at all. Our focus has really been on ourselves and doing all the things that we can do to get ourselves ready to go.

Q. Coach, you've had at Clemson such stability at the core where Alabama has had a lot of turnover. How much do you think that helps that you guys have been around for this run the last three playoffs?

COACH SCOTT: I mean, I think just speaking from Clemson's side, I do think our stability has been very important for us. There's a comfort level on our headsets, in our game planning. I think even for our players, they know what to expect from us. We know what to expect from them. It's been kind of part of our winning formula, I would say. 
   
I would also say just looking across the field, it's very remarkable the consistency that Alabama's been able to play with at a very high level and losing multiple coaches. I think that says a lot about Coach [Nick] Saban and his program. But we're very proud of the consistency and stability that we've had at Clemson. 

I think a large part of that credit goes to Coach Swinney. He has an environment ‑‑ he's built an environment at Clemson that coaches don’t want to leave, they want to stay. And I really feel blessed to be there and be a part of that.

Q. Your guys have got to be pretty excited about this challenge that they've obviously faced the last two years, going for round three. Have you sensed a sentiment from these guys knowing that they are getting ready to battle one of the best defenses in the country?

COACH SCOTT: Yeah, it's definitely a huge challenge for those guys. Every time I talked to our offensive line, I remind them that they're one of the reasons that we're here. Personally I coached wide receivers. We've had a lot of great receivers over the last eight or nine years come through Clemson. 

I really feel like the change in our program and in our offense the last three years, a lot of that credit goes to those guys up front on the offensive line because the skill guys can only take you so far. Even a great quarterback can only take you so far. At some point, you have got to win in the trenches.

I feel like our guys up front really took a huge step forward about three years ago, and I think these guys understand that. They know the importance. It really starts up front for us. We can't do anything running the ball or on the perimeter without those guys, and I think they see it as definitely a challenge.

Alabama has one of the best front sevens that we'll play all year. There's a lot of respect for those guys, especially the guys that have played and even the guys that didn't play the last two years. They were on the sidelines, and they saw what type of battle that was against Alabama. You're not going into the game kind of guessing what it's going to be like. You know there's an expectation that you know what you're going to get from those guys up front.  It's definitely a challenge, and we look forward to it. 



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December 29th Clemson Offensive Quotes

The Tiger Pregame Show
January 1st, 2018
1:30-4:30 Central Time
2:30-5:30 Eastern Time
WCCP 105.5 FM In Upstate Of South Carolina
wccpfm.com and Tune In App Streaming For Free

2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl - Clemson Co-Offensive Coordinator
Jeff Scott Quotes - 12-29-17

Q. Can you talk about the excitement to be here in New Orleans and what it means to this program to be back after some fifty‑plus years?
 
COACH SCOTT: Yeah, it's very exciting. Coach Swinney kind of has this special skill or talent of maybe predicting the future. And at the very beginning of the year, he always starts off his talk with a bunch of numbers. And he kind of uses those numbers as goals for our season.  And one of those numbers was the number of years since Clemson had been to the Sugar Bowl. And that was one of our goals from the very beginning in August, and it's great to be here. 
 
I think our players and coaches understand the history of the Sugar Bowl. The last time I was here was actually as a coach's kid. My dad was coaching Florida State, and they played here in 1989 against Auburn. So I have great memories of that. I was 8, 9 years old running around. It's great to be back as a coach at a historical bowl game.
 
Q. Alabama is doing well on the defensive side of the ball. What do you see differently from them this season than you saw from them last year in the championship game?
 
COACH SCOTT: There are a few new faces and new names but the same results. Schematically, they're very similar to what they've done the last two years. I think the best teams know what they want to do and they do it well.  And I think probably the same could be said about us offensively. We're not a whole lot different than maybe who we've been the last two years.
 
But, you know, it's very impressive that with some of the departures they've had over the last few years defensively that there's no drop‑off whatsoever. Very physical. They make you earn everything. There are no free plays out there. Literally every run and every pass completion, there's a guy right there ‑‑ 
 
So the biggest thing for us is really to focus on ourselves. We got a lot of respect for our opponents. But part of our plan is really focusing on our execution and to be sure that we go out and give ourselves the best chance to be successful.
 
Q. Do you see the progression of Kelly [Bryant]? Do you see a different guy each and every week that's gone out and gotten better to be ready for this moment in this situation? 
 
COACH SCOTT: Yeah, I think the biggest difference from where he was the first 2 1/2 years to where he showed up in August, he was a different player, a different quarterback, the confidence that he had, the ability to throw the ball, understanding what we're doing offensively. It was really night and day from where he was, even in the past spring. 
 
Once the season started, I think obviously being a first‑year starter, there's a lot of lessons that you learn each and every week. But really from our perspective, he's been the same all year long. That's one of the reasons that we're sitting here today, is because of his consistency. That's one of the best traits that you can have in your quarterback, is some that's very consistent and doesn't play up or play down in certain games, in certain moments. 
 
He's just been very consistent. Whatever we've asked him to do in order to win a game, he's done it. In some games, we've thrown it a little bit more. In some games, we've asked him to run the ball and do different things. And he's always risen to that challenge. And I think it's quite remarkable for him his first year to play the way he has and lead this team.
 
Q. Coach, can you talk about the respect you have for Minkah Fitzpatrick.
 
COACH SCOTT: Great player. Kind of over the last few years we've had the opportunity to play a lot of great players and guys that we respect and have a great skill set. I think he's probably one of the most complete players that we've studied over the last few years. Very technically sound. He doesn't get out of position very much at all. He uses his hands very well. He has his eyes in the right spot. And not only does he know what they want to do defensively, you can tell he spends a lot of time in the film room. He anticipates things very well. And I definitely would say is one of the best players that we have faced in the past and probably will this year.
 
Q. Talking to Jalen Hurts yesterday, he's glad now that he has that year under his belt as opposed to starting in this type of game last year as a true freshman. Do you have any concerns with Kelly [Bryant] now that the stakes are getting higher? I know he was in the ACC championship. Is there any question marks how he will handle it because the stakes are getting higher?
 
COACH SCOTT: For us, not really because this has kind of become the norm. That's a great spot to be. I would say four, five years ago we couldn't sit up here and say that playing in a playoff game is the norm. 
 
I know this is his first playoff game. Really, the playoff for us started when we played Auburn, it felt like. We just had so many big games this year and even in the past, big games where everything is on the line. And we played some very talented teams and talented defenses. 
 
But, again, the message that Coach Swinney has really instilled in our guys is it's not about who we play. It's not about where we play. It's not about what time we play. It's about how we play and it's about us. And all those other factors really should not have any implication on our success. We control our success. That's really the mind‑set that our guys have.
 
So we have a lot of confidence in Kelly. We've got other guys. Justin Falcinelli starts at center. It's his first time playing in a playoff game. Really that's not been our focus at all. Our focus has really been on ourselves and doing all the things that we can do to get ourselves ready to go.
 
Q. Coach, you've had at Clemson such stability at the core where Alabama has had a lot of turnover. How much do you think that helps that you guys have been around for this run the last three playoffs?
 
COACH SCOTT: I mean, I think just speaking from Clemson's side, I do think our stability has been very important for us. There's a comfort level on our headsets, in our game planning. I think even for our players, they know what to expect from us. We know what to expect from them. It's been kind of part of our winning formula, I would say. 
   
I would also say just looking across the field, it's very remarkable the consistency that Alabama's been able to play with at a very high level and losing multiple coaches. I think that says a lot about Coach [Nick] Saban and his program. But we're very proud of the consistency and stability that we've had at Clemson. 
 
I think a large part of that credit goes to Coach Swinney. He has an environment ‑‑ he's built an environment at Clemson that coaches don’t want to leave, they want to stay. And I really feel blessed to be there and be a part of that.
 
Q. Your guys have got to be pretty excited about this challenge that they've obviously faced the last two years, going for round three. Have you sensed a sentiment from these guys knowing that they are getting ready to battle one of the best defenses in the country?
 
COACH SCOTT: Yeah, it's definitely a huge challenge for those guys. Every time I talked to our offensive line, I remind them that they're one of the reasons that we're here. Personally I coached wide receivers. We've had a lot of great receivers over the last eight or nine years come through Clemson. 
 
I really feel like the change in our program and in our offense the last three years, a lot of that credit goes to those guys up front on the offensive line because the skill guys can only take you so far. Even a great quarterback can only take you so far. At some point, you have got to win in the trenches.
 
I feel like our guys up front really took a huge step forward about three years ago, and I think these guys understand that. They know the importance. It really starts up front for us. We can't do anything running the ball or on the perimeter without those guys, and I think they see it as definitely a challenge.
 
Alabama has one of the best front sevens that we'll play all year. There's a lot of respect for those guys, especially the guys that have played and even the guys that didn't play the last two years. They were on the sidelines, and they saw what type of battle that was against Alabama. You're not going into the game kind of guessing what it's going to be like. You know there's an expectation that you know what you're going to get from those guys up front.  It's definitely a challenge, and we




3 Days Until Kickoff! Remembering The College Football Playoff Journey

3 Days Until Kickoff!
Remembering The Journey With College Football Playoffs! 
National Championship In Tampa, Florida 


Deshaun Watson took the snap, rolled right and with one of the easiest throws he had to make all night, completed Clemson's journey to the top of college football.

Tiger Pregame Show Promotional Video Vs. Alabama In Tampa, Florida https://youtu.be/jDqbY7iNclA  

A frantic fourth quarter and a championship rematch between Clemson and Alabama was decided with 1 second left on a 2-yard touchdown toss to Hunter Renfrow. 



Watson and the Tigers dethroned the defending champs and became the first team to beat Nick Saban's Alabama dynasty in a national title game, taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-31  in the College Football Playoff.


A 35-year title drought for Clemson is over. The Tigers are national champions for the first time since 1981. 

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.

The Tiger Pregame Show from 2:30-5:30 Eastern Time and 1:30-4:30 Central Time 

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Source (Espn)

December 29th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Memorial Stadium In 1950’s


(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today’s photo is of Memorial Stadium in the late 1950’s facing east.

You can notice that this picture was taken after the original Press Box was built (this one is actually bigger than the original Press Box).

You can also note that the wooden bleachers are still being used. Those wooden bleachers would be replaced by aluminum in 1972.

This picture was taken after the expansion of Memorial Stadium in 1958, which helps me pin the date of the photo to 1959 or 1960.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Alabama Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll Quotes From Allstate Sugar Bowl

The Tiger Pregame Show
January 1st, 2018
1:30-4:30 Central Time
2:30-5:30 Eastern Time
WCCP 105.5 FM In Upstate Of South Carolina
wccpfm.com and Tune In App Streaming For Free


COACH DABOLL: Hope you guys had a good holiday. It's a good opportunity to be here. The people at the Allstate Sugar Bowl and people of New Orleans have been tremendous. It's a great opportunity for us. We've still got a lot of work ahead of us. We have to put a good week of practice and preparation in before the holiday. Got back out on the practice field here today ‑‑ or yesterday. So we're facing a really tough team that's highly ranked in all areas, the best team we've played in terms of statistics. They have a tremendous front seven who can get after the quarterback at length, athletics, second‑level defense, ball‑hawking guys are good. Coach [Brent] Venables does a great job with his team. It's been very difficult to prepare for. He has a variety of pressures, fronts, coverages. So they're number one for a reason. We've got a big challenge ahead of us. We look forward to it, but we know we've got a lot of work to do. 

 Q. Is the offense where you envisioned it would be after 12 games right now? 

COACH DABOLL: I'm really focused on this week. I don't go back in terms of numbers or anything like that. And we'd be doing ourselves a disservice if we weren't concentrating solely on the task at hand with the team that we're about to play, personnel‑wise, scheme‑wise. Look, you try to put together a good plan every week, execute that plan and give your players the best chance to be successful. And that's really where our focus is right now. 

 Q. The trademarks of the SEC defense are athleticism, scheme. Can you just talk about Clemson? 

 COACH DABOLL: Yeah, this is the most talented team that we've played. It's very well‑coached. Again, they've only given up 30 points one time this year, 38‑31 against North Carolina State. They've given up 20 points twice. One game they lost to Syracuse 27‑24. And Louisville, I think, scored 21. Other than that, they've been under 20 every game. They're exceptional on third down. It's just a challenge. It's a challenging defense in terms of the personnel and the scheme that Coach [Brent] Venables runs. This is the first time I've had about a month here. It's a little different for me coming from the National Football League where you only have a couple weeks if you're one seed or two seed. So we've had a lot of time to go through every play you can go through the whole season and pass things and analyze everything you can analyze. There's a lot of information. But no question, this is a good football team. 

Q. First of all, like you said, coming from the NFL, can you tell me what's the most similar thing working for [Bill] Belichick and [Nick] Saban and what's the most different? And, secondly, as the guy who won here last year, do you use last year's game to scout this game, or is it totally for you what they've done this season? 

COACH DABOLL: To answer your first question, Coach [Bill] Belichick and Coach [Nick] Saban are very similar. They're very demanding. They're very detailed. They expect your best effort. They expect you to leave no stone unturned. You have a responsibility to the team. That's your role. Whatever your role is, is very important, whether you're an assistant coach, whether you're a quarterback, whether you're a running back, whether you're a guy that does the video or the equipment. So everybody has a role in the organization. They're the leaders that are in charge of the organization. So, obviously, you have two extremely successful leaders. And so they're very, very similar in terms of how they run an organization, the principles and values that they stand for. So it's been a transition for me. I've worked for Coach [Nick] Saban as a GA twenty‑some years ago. Not much has changed. 

Q. Differences between the two? 

COACH DABOLL: I think Nick [Saban] dresses a little better. (Laughter) But, no. They're both outstanding to work for. I mean, I've been blessed. 14 of the 20 years that I've been doing this, I've got to learn from those two men, not just football, scheme‑wise, which they're exceptional at, but how they run an organization. 

Q. When you left college football the last time versus now, how much has changed? 

COACH DABOLL: Well, look, this league that I've been privileged to be a part of has been unbelievable, extremely good talent. There's not, like, huge, huge differences. There's some scheme things in terms of the quarterback runs and some of the things that you can do, sure. But everything is run here very professionally through Coach [Saban]. And the competition is great in the SEC. The fan base is unbelievable. The atmosphere. It's pretty interesting. The crowds and everything that goes along with the pageantry with being involved in the SEC from my first year has been a little bit eye‑opening because it's packed houses. I mean, it's pretty cool. It's pretty cool. 

Q. How has your relationship with Jalen [Hurts] evolved from when you first got here? 

COACH DABOLL: Well, I think, when you come in as a new person ‑‑ and it's not just with Jalen [Hurts]. It's Calvin [Ridley], Boze (Bradley Bozeman); it's any of those guys. Your goal is to try to help those guys be better players as a coach. So anything that you can do to try to improve them and teach them is important for that role, I think. But having a personal relationship with your players, they don't really care how much you know until they know how much you care. I've got a lot of respect for all the guys in our room. It's a demanding program. They work their tails off. They're good in their preparations. They practice hard. They're good students. They're good guys. So every day it's just like you and I met. We have to start somewhere and build up that relationship. And it's been good. I've got a good relationship with them.

Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables Quotes From Allstate Sugar Bowl

The Tiger Pregame Show
January 1st, 2018
1:30-4:30 Central Time
2:30-5:30 Eastern Time
WCCP 105.5 FM In Upstate Of South Carolina
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Q. Is it easier to prepare for a team whose identity ‑‑ as you know, Derrick Henry is 80% of it or 70% of it, or if you know it's Baker Mayfield who everything's built around, kind of what one guy does. Is it more difficult that Alabama doesn't seem to feature one guy?
 
COACH VENABLES: Oh, sure. Obviously, I think some things are going to be this is what we do and, at the other end, you're required to do it. And I think each one probably brings a little bit something different to the table. But, I mean, they are able to stay fresh. As much as anything, it's their ability to physically impose their will on people. And they've got terrific players, very highly recruited players in every single position in that huddle.
 
So, even when everything is right, the margin for error is very little. Fundamentally, athletically, physically. And when they're able to keep guys fresh at the skill position when they're featuring the running backs, it can be ‑‑ it's a great, great challenge, as we know.
 
I think they established a running game early last year. We got settled down and got a little bit better. Losing Henry was a big deal for them. But, as we thought a year ago, 34 is a great player as well. And I think this year has proven that. So they've got home‑run hitters, man, outside and in that backfield and then the quarterback.
 
The first few plays of the game against one of their early opponents ‑‑ I mean, second play of the game, he's flipping the field and 60 yards later, it's a touchdown. And that's what they do, some option principles in some ways. They do a great job of getting their best players in football on the perimeter, in his face, against maybe smaller cover‑type guys as well. They force everybody to get involved. You're not going to hide against these boys. They're not, "Well, I'm going to cover my guy over here." They're smarter than that. And so, if you have some deficiencies, they'll expose you in a minute.
 
Q. How has Brian [Daboll]'s stamp print on this offense been different than Lane's [Kiffin]?
 
COACH VENABLES: I always look at each game as kind of a season or life of its own. I don't really look at trying to compare or contrast what they do different. I just look at players and what they do best, how they feature them and, you know, don't really try to even compare. But they've got great backs. Again, they've got really good receivers. They're doing a very good job of establishing the line of scrimmage, utilize the screen game, the boot game, play action, and, again, get some one‑on‑one opportunities outside and over the top.
 
So those are all similarities. And some of the play designs are the same, and some of it's a little bit different. And, obviously, they got back here. I think, for the most part, all year they were the number one team in the country and destroying everybody. So what they've done is very effective. The coaches change but the players keep doing the same stuff and scoring a lot of points and moving the ball both on the run and the pass game.
 
Q. Do you feel the defense has kind of taken on the personality of the defensive line and the team really has taken on that personality?
 
COACH VENABLES: I think that's where our most experience is coming back. And it's a group that's probably got our best collection as a position, our best collection of leaders. They kind of set the tempo in regards to our work ethic, our attitude. They bring a lot of energy. They like to practice. They like the weight room. They like it all.
 
And it's not a group of guys that you've got to pull any teeth to get ready to prepare and work, whether we're playing Citadel, Auburn, or Alabama, it doesn't matter. Our guys like to play the game. So I do think that, as a group, you want them to get off the bus first.
 
And they've been very productive, too. And it's a disruptive group that, you know, has had another strong year. And it's not a group that's really concerned with reading their press clippings and things of that nature. It's a very humble, hard‑working, tough‑minded, group of guys that are selfless in everything that they do and their leadership.
 
Q. Were you surprised at all, when coming into this year, how humble and selfless that front line remained, knowing they were all kind of battling for publicity, draft status, that type of thing?
 
COACH VENABLES: Not surprised. We addressed it all the way back in the summer, when everybody wanted to anoint the defense or them as the best ever. And who's to say who's who and what's what. I'm one to say we haven't done anything yet. This book is far from being finished. And I just despise putting the cart before the horse.
 
And this has been a group that has been easy to coach because of their humility. And they're just a very grounded group of young men that all come from good mamas. And I say that sincerely. That's why they are who they are.
 
But I'm not surprised, though, that they've remained humble, no, not at all. And I think that also, that's what our program is. And that's something that Coach [Dabo] Swinney nourishes and demands. And there will be no entitlement in this program. They kind of lead the way.
 
Q. Talking about the best effort, the guys were really up and they wanted to be better than 2014. Do you feel like they are?
 
COACH VENABLES: I'm not really concerned with comparing them. It's been a fun group to coach. And that was a terrific group. Because, as much as anything, they competed and finished everything. And we still have more in front of us. But this has been a group that it's been fun to watch. Because despite injuries, despite lack of depth, despite some lack of experience at some spots, you've really kind of seen them for the most part get better as the year has gone on. And those are the most fun groups to coach.
 
And it doesn't happen every year. But the best units, the best players that you've been around, that's something that's a quality that they all have. They just keep getting better, keep their nose down, know how to work. And this group is actually doing that.
 
Q. How much is Dabo [Swinney] a guy that says, "You coach the defense and do what you want," and how much is he a guy that says, "You coach the defense within these parameters and do it the way I want"?
 
COACH VENABLES: Well, I mean, there's certain standards that are uncompromising. But he gives you a great deal of autonomy. He's great to work for.
 
First, he believes in you. And we all need structure. We all need a little bit of help staying in our lane here and there. And he does a great job from just a balance standpoint of knowing what we're doing, doesn't ask a whole lot of other questions.
 
If something's wrong, whether it's personnel or scheme, he's going to make sure that you're checking your oil, which any great CEO or head coach is going to do and should do. But he gives us a lot of autonomy and a great deal of trust. But you earn that over time. And, like I said, we all need structure. You don't want too much autonomy. And so he does a great job, easy to work for.
 
Q. You anticipated Alabama adding offensively at the end of the last season.
 
COACH VENABLES: You know, there will always be wrinkles. There's differences. A year ago, you prepare, whatever it was, six days thinking that you're getting ready for Lane Kiffin's offense; and then [Steve] Sarkisian comes in and he's got his offense.