Think Clemson is spending 100 percent of its practice time preparing for Alabama? Or even 90 or 80 percent?
You would be wrong.
In a story by The Post and Courier’s Grace Raynor, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables reveals that the Tigers spend less than 70 percent of their time at practices specifically preparing for the Crimson Tide, per orders from coach Dabo Swinney. The powerhouse programs are set to meet in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in New Orleans, with the winner advancing to the national championship game in Atlanta.
Here’s more from the story:
“Coach Swinney does a great job of our structure at practice,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables told Raynor. “We’re not spending 80 percent of our practice or even 70 percent of our practice preparing for Alabama. We’re working on fundamentals, we’re working on just good-on-good and just trying to get better.
“You’ve got to get them ready to play, too. You’ve still got to be physical, you’ve still got to practice with great intensity and physical toughness. (But) he does a tremendous job of just having that balance, and I think our track record in the postseason is a reflection of that.”
That’s cool insight into Clemson’s bowl prep. It makes sense that the Tigers would want to fine-tune their fundamentals and try “to get better,” as Venables said.
You can bet Alabama players will try to sharpen their skills in the weeks leading up to the showdown in New Orleans, too. The Crimson Tide (11-1) haven’t played since losing to Auburn on Nov. 25. Clemson (12-1) beat Miami on Dec. 2 to claim another ACC title.
The teams should provide more College Football Playoff dramatics for us all to enjoy.