Alabama Football Podcast: Lessons From Alabama – Clemson Championship Game

Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2016 Alabama football team fell to Clemson in what some are calling a historic game, ending this Tide squad’s bid at becoming an all time great. But what did we learn watching the play in Tampa?

With each passing week, we’ll learn more about the 2016 Crimson Tide squad.  We’ll spot trends as they emerge and puzzle at both the positive and negative outliers throughout the Alabama Football season.

In this weekly feature, I’ll highlight a handful of the lessons this team is teaching me.

Funny Taste

One morning just over a week ago I woke up and started looking for the monkey that shit in my mouth.  How else to explain the funny taste? All these days later and still no sign of that monkey. My wife has taken to suggesting I have issues with denial.

She’s wrong.

While I’ll concede that my monkey tale may be farfetched, I haven’t yet heard a better explanation. I mean, right?

Don’t Take Our Bo

It’s hard to put a fine point on this without sounding like sour grapes. Or worse, a Texas fan circa 2010.

But had Scarbrough not gone down with a broken leg, Alabama beats Clemson by at least two scores.

Clemson simply had no answer for Bo who had 2 long touchdown runs and single-handedly out rushed Clemson even before suffering a broken leg in the 3rd quarter.

Absent its power back, Alabama shifted its attack and proved unable to sustain drives.

Depth Watch

I both love and hate the irony of the depth watch story line. Again and again we’ve unpacked exactly how thin this Alabama defense really was at several key positions. And without fail the team was able to overcome. Creative formations, emerging youngsters, and timely turnovers all masked a limited second team. This happened with such frequency that the media continued to spin the narrative of Alabama possessing such a deep roster.

With so much bluster it had to be true. Right?

Enter Clemson with its talented roster, elusive and effective passer, and a game plan designed to exploit the Tide’s lack of depth on defense.

Play after play after play the Clemson receivers did two things – rotated personnel and took the Tide defenders deep. Add in tempo at key spots and the persistent attack took its toll.

Clemson ran 99 plays, the run against an Alabama defense in Saban’s tenure. Or better than double the 45 plays run by Auburn in the 2016 Iron Bowl.

All season long to have raised the flag for depth issues, including and especially in the secondary only to see it unravel in grand fashion on the biggest of stages. Curses.

More from Bama Hammer

All Hail Alabama

As disappointing as this loss was for the Tide faithful, it’s no excuse not to celebrate the wonders of the 2016 season. This team may be a near perfect embodiment of the Saban process-based ethos.

Work hard, stick with the program, ignore the scoreboard, avoid distractions, everyone competes, and get better everyday.

This squad had it all. Star players sticking around to become super stars, depth players finally earning starting roles, and freshmen being provided a fair shake for playing time, and more.

The 2016 Alabama squad will be a fun one to remember, even if it included some squirrely monkey business in Tampa.

Alabama Football Podcast

As another late bonus, below is our recap of the action. We hope you’ll give us a listen and Roll Tide.

Next: Bring on the Haters!

Meanwhile, check back as we shift into the non-playing season. Signing Day, A Day, Draft Day – lots of good times ahead for Alabama Fans.