Alabama football: How will Crimson Tide handle Clemson’s defensive front?
The Sugar Bowl is still weeks away, but we’ll be tackling the best question from Alabama football fans each day. Look for our Alabama Question of the Day every Tuesday through Friday.
Alabama football earned the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff. It will be the Crimson Tide’s fourth appearance in the playoff’s four-year history. Alabama will face No. 1 Clemson on Jan. 1 in the Sugar Bowl semifinal. No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 Georgia will meet in the Rose Bowl semifinal.
Three of the four defensive linemen for Clemson are expected to go in the first round of the NFL Draft. How will Bama adjust to that NFL defensive front?
Looking back at the title game last season, Alabama had success running the ball against Clemson. The Crimson Tide rushed for 221 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per carry against the Tigers.
For whatever reason, former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian simply forget he had other running backs once Bo Scarbrough went down with a leg injury.
Alabama didn’t give the ball to Damien Harris or Josh Jacobs down the stretch, and ultimately paid for it in the loss.
Heading into this game, Alabama should feel confident it can run the ball against Clemson if they commit to it.
Alabama has had plenty of success running the ball on the edges this season. It’ll be up to offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to design a plan to feature the Crimson Tide’s running backs this time around.
The biggest thing to watch is when Alabama gets in obvious passing situations. Clemson excels at rushing the passer.
How Alabama’s offensive line plays will directly determine whether Alabama wins or loses this game. If Alabama’s offensive line plays well enough to create running lanes and keep Jalen Hurts clean, look for the Crimson Tide to advance to Atlanta.
If Clemson’s defensive front controls the line of scrimmage, it’ll be hard for the Crimson Tide to escape New Orleans with a victory.