When you walk the walk, you get to talk the talk … just ask “Animal Mother” from the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket.
Anyway, Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney‘s team has been “walking the walk” this year. To wit: The Tigers (14-0, 8-0 ACC) will play No. 2 Alabama for the national championship on Monday night in Glendale, Arizona.
The Crimson Tide (13-1, 7-1 SEC) opened the game as seven-point favorites … making No. 1 Clemson an underdog for the second time in as many games (the Tigers defeated Oklahoma 37-17 in the national semi-finals despite the Sooners being four-point favorites).
Swinney isn’t concerned … in fact he boasted of his team’s ability to master the moment in each of its prior games.
“Our guys have answered every challenge, and to be the only undefeated team left in the country is special, so really proud of our team, and just their will to win and how they’ve competed consistently, and more importantly how they’ve prepared consistently all year long,” Swinney said. “The Orange Bowl was obviously a great performance. We played very well from a four-quarter standpoint as far as the things you’ve got to do to give yourself a chance to win. The toughness, the physicality, our ability to run the ball, we dominated the game in the trenches, they were rushing for 300 something yards a game, and we held them to 67, and we rushed for 312. So that’s really all you need to know.”
Can the Tigers be similarly successful against Alabama?
“We are who we are, they are who they are,” he said. “Let’s go play the game.”
The good news for Clemson? Swinney said the team’s star defensive lineman Shaq Lawson appeared to have recovered from a knee injury sustained on the second play of the national semi-final game against Oklahoma.
If he’s 100 percent, Clemson will stand a much better chance of shutting down Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winning running back Derrick Henry.