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What does Clemson have to do to beat Alabama?


What does Clemson have to do to beat Alabama? Well, first we must acknowledge that everything written henceforth is mere theory, not fact. Right now, there is no blueprint to beat this Alabama team. They’ve been too fast, too strong, too explosive, too well-coached to experience the same sting of defeat that visited every other Division I squad this season.

But that doesn’t mean the Tide can’t be beaten.

The path to beating Alabama, a path populated by overgrown cactus and alligators and swarms of African killer bees, leading to same holy grail Clemson narrowly missed last season, starts with the quarterbacks. Deshaun Watson must repeat the same effort he posted in last season’s title game, when he hit 30-of-47 passes for 405 yards with four touchdowns against one interception, plus 20 carries for 73 yards. The Tigers can not and will not win without a similar game from their best player.

While Clemson has to have Watson at its best, it also must get Jalen Hurts at his worst. Hurts only threw the ball 14 times against Washington and many, up to and including Nick Saban, thought that was too much. Hurts has shown a penchant for giving the ball away, and Clemson must take advantage of that.

Pursuant to that, to beat Alabama, Clemson must grab an early lead and hold on to it.

We don’t know what Steve Sarkisian will be like as a play-caller on Monday night, and neither does he. If Clemson can secure a touchdown or greater lead beyond the first quarter, Sarkisian may start to feel that glare — the glare of dozens of ESPN cameras, the glare of his new boss. Alabama hasn’t trailed much this season — they haven’t trailed in the second half since a 33-14 win over Texas A&M on Oct. 22 — and forcing the Tide into that uncomfortable position, against a team that has a better quarterback than they do and a defensive line equal to theirs, could pull the full weight of the Tide’s 26-game winning streak on Sarkisian and Hurts’s shoulders.

Because while the path to an Alabama defeat is treacherous and untouched, the path to an Alabama victory is wide open and well-worn. If Watson has a bad game, Alabama will win. If Alabama has a second-half lead, allowing Bo Scarborough to start his oversized-bowling-ball-rolling-downhill routine, Alabama will win.

And there you have it. Either Watson will lead Clemson past the alligators and around the killer bees, or the Tigers will be flattened by a weaponized bowling ball. Sounds simple, right?

After transferring from USC last year, E.J. Price tweets he’s leaving Kentucky too

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No stranger to transfer, E.J. Price is embarking on a search for a new college home — again.  Whether football is involved, however, seemingly remains to be seen.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday morning, Price announced that he is “stepping away” from the Kentucky football program.  In the tweet, the offensive lineman stressed, in all-caps, that “I WAS NOT KICKED OFF I AM LEAVING.”

In a subsequent tweet. he stated it was “time for me to overcome football.”

Earlier this month, head coach Mark Stoops mentioned “some inconsistencies with [Price] that he needs to iron out.” In another tweet, the lineman stated the following:

Price was a four-star member of USC’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country.  He transferred from USC to Kentucky in July of last year.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Price was forced to sit out the 2017 season.

NCAA grants South Alabama TE Andrew Reinkemeyer a sixth season

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South Alabama recently received some positive news on the personnel front.

A USA spokesperson (for the university, not the country) confirmed to that Andrew Reinkemeyer has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The tight end will use that additional season of eligibility, his last, to play for the Jaguars in 2018.

The decision to grant Reinkemeyer an extra season of eligibility was seemingly a no-brainer.

As a true sophomore at a Kansas junior college, Reinkemeyer suffered an injury in the 2015 season opener and didn’t play again that year. After transferring to USA, Reinkemeyer missed the entire 2016 season because of the torn Achilles tendon that cost him most of the previous season at the JUCO.

Finally healthy last season, Reinkemeyer caught 10 passes for 75 yards for the Sun Belt Conference program. He was the leading receiver amongst Jaguars tight ends in 2017.

North Carolina formally announces hiring of ex-Tennessee RBs coach Robert Gillespie

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The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.

“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”

Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.

In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.

Report: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury ‘just a sprain’

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It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand.  It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach,, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”

Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp.  That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.