There’s no doubting that the Alabama Crimson Tide are going to rely heavily on Heisman Trophy-winning running back Derrick Henry in Monday’s national championship game against Clemson Tigers. This will likely cause the Tigers to stack the box defensively.
One other big weapon the Tide have had all season is freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley. He has been a big deep threat for Lane Kiffin’s offense, which could be a big problem for the Tigers in the national championship game.
During a conference call on Thursday, ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit talked with Campus Sports about what Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has to do to stop Ridley and those deep threats.
He talked about the corners, notably Mackensie Alexander, being on an island with Ridley. He said that the team must hope they do a good job of shutting him down to be able to get sacks and force turnovers.
“There’s an awareness from Brent Venables. Lane Kiffin doesn’t get enough credit for what he is doing. He is doing a great job to stay out of the third and eight situations, where Jake Coker has struggled mightily this year. If you are Clemson, you have hope your guys out on an island are able to hold up. If you can make Coker hold on to the ball, you will get sacks or force him to throw the ball before he’s ready.
Herbstreit then went on to say the Tigers should really worry about the Tide taking deep shots early on in the game.
“If I’m Clemson, I am worried about early shots with Coker going deep to Ridley early.”
On the year, Ridley has caught 83 passes for 1,031 yards and seven touchdowns. The Tigers are certainly going to have to watch out for him if they want to have any chance at winning on Monday.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports