D.J. Reader

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Clemson’s Charone Peake: I felt like we dominated Alabama

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The Clemson Tigers fell five points shy against Alabama in the national championship game earlier this month. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson put on a performance reminiscent of Vince Young in the Rose Bowl, although Watson and the Tigers let a fourth quarter lead slip away as Alabama took the upper hand and brought home another national championship under Nick Saban. Though Clemson lost the game, there was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in the performance. Wide receiver Charone Peake certainly didn’t feel any shame in his team’s performance.

We felt like we dominated the game,” Peake said following a Senior Bowl practice on Thursday, per Al.com. “Those couple two or three plays took over and kinda overshadowed our play. The scoreboard didn’t show it but I felt like we dominated the game.”

The plays Peake was likely referring to were an onside kick called by Alabama following a touchdown, a 95-yard kickoff return by Kenyan Drake and a long touchdown run by Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning running back, Derrick Henry, and a long touchdown pass to seldom-used O.J. Howard. To support Peake’s case, Clemson’s offense did a fantastic job against a defense that was heralded as one of the best in the nation, anchored by the top defensive line and defensive front in the game. Clemson rolled up 550 yards of offense and scored 40 points on Alabama, so in a sense, yes, Clemson’s offense was dominant. Peake was responsible for 99 receiving yards on six receptions as well. Clemson defensive tackle D.J. Reader agreed.

“They capitalize. If you’re going to beat them, you really have to beat them,” Reader said. “You can’t go out there and have a fluke game and just win against them. You have to beat them straight up. That’s what I respect about them as a team. They’re going to do the things that matter. They’re going the little tackles, even if it doesn’t count, they’re going to make them. They just do things the right way.”

It must be open season on the newly crowned national champions down at the Senior Bowl. This week also saw Ohio State players suggest they would have given Alabama a better fight than their Big Ten division foes from Michigan State. Who will be next to suggest they could take Alabama?

Personal issues cause Clemson starting DT D.J. Reader to step away from football

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Sometimes there are some things more important than football, and sometimes that means you need to step away from the game to take care of those important issues away from the field. Whatever the case may be, that is what is happening with Clemson defensive tackle D.J. Reader. The starting defensive lineman is stepping away from Clemson’s football team for an undetermined amount of time, head coach Dabo Swinney announced Tuesday.

“D.J. Reader has decided to step away from football for a while,” Swinney said in a released statement. “He has some personal issues he has to deal with at this time. We are not sure when he will return. We will support him any way we can. This is no different than a player being lost for a period of time due to injury.”

The loss of Reader, for whatever amount of time, is a tough blow for Clemson’s defense. The senior was to be a starter this season after getting some starting experience last season. He enters this season having recorded 110 tackles and 4.5 sacks over the last three seasons. Clemson’s options to fill in the hole on the defensive line appear to be redshirt sophomore Scott Pagano and freshman Christian Wilkins.