Senior Tigers Linebacker Ben Boulware, who made 1st Team All-ACC this season, expressed the excitement of getting another shot at Bama saying, “Honestly this is the game we wanted. We want our revenge. We want our redemption. I think we will be coming with fire for the big game.” Boulware ended last year’s National Championship in tears after the Crimson Tide walked away with the trophy. Boulware and company hope to go out as Champions, especially with this being his final game.
This is the first time in history that the College Football Playoff Championship game has the same teams competing for the second consecutive year. To make things more interesting, Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney played for Alabama back in 1990-1992, winning a National Championship in 92’. Both programs have shown a great deal of respect for each other in recent years. When asked about their matchup with Clemson, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban commented, “Clemson is very well coached, and all around this is a really good defensive team. It’s going to be a real challenge.”
“In order to be the best, you have to beat the best, and that’s Alabama.” Said Clemson Quarterback DeShaun Watson. Clemson’s program has grown substantially over the years under the leadership of Swinney. Dabo has been with the Tigers for eight years as Head Coach and has established a culture of winning the last few seasons. Clemson has aspirations to be the top dog in college football for years to come, but first need to take care of business against Alabama. When asked about the difference in this year’s team and last year’s team Dabo replied, “We had a hard time finishing last year. This year we have more experience and we are a healthier team.”
The significance and impact of Coach Swinney on the field speaks for itself. Dabo has led his teams to 88 wins, with 28 losses, for a .759 percent winning record, while at Clemson. With regards to football, he has brought this program to an elite level. However, his influence in these kid’s lives off the field may even be greater.
As a man of faith, he has rallied his team to a winning attitude in multiple aspects of life. The team has practiced and played with a “Passion, Belief, Attitude” mentality this season. Player after player have had nothing but great things to say about their coach and how he has been a role model and honestly, a father figure to them. It’s truly a testimony to his character and how his morals carry over into this Clemson team. They have created a family atmosphere, and it has begun with their coach. Not only has he affected his players in a positive way, but the coaching staff as well.
Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables raved when asked about his head coach saying, “We’ve got a great brand. It’s got a great family vibe to it. Coach Swinney’s as good as there is in the business as far as being a mentor, father figure, motivator. Really inspiring. He’s got a unique ability to make everyone around him feel better about themselves and bring out the best qualitites, and I think he’s developed a staff that’s had continuity and that are selfless in how they work and that believe in his philosophy and everybody’s pulling that rope in the same direction.”
Monday night could result in the end of Alabama’s National Championship reign and the beginning of a dynasty under Coach Swinney for a long time to come. We will see if Clemson is successful in getting their revenge on the vaunted Crimson Tide. Either way, this Clemson team and this Clemson program, have received the moral win with the man that they call "Coach."