| FTBL A Clemson Fan's Preview and Prediction II

Alabama's Offense Vs. Clemson's Defense

Alabama is obviously led by a stout, veteran offensive line. Playing behind that line is John Parker Wilson, who threw for 18 TD's last year, and Terry Grant, who is CJ Spiller-esque. With Coffee, they form a solid unit with big play potential.

Where Alabama might feel a hit is at WR, where their leading ball catcher from last season is gone. Obviously there is talent here. McCoy is a big target at 6'3 and Stover seems to be one of those guys that has been on campus forever. Saban will undoubtedly expect freshman sensation Julio Jones to make contributions, and by all accounts, he should.

Overall this is a talented group that must find consistency. Alabama last year mustered only 14 points against La-Mon, but blasted Tennessee with a 41 point barrage. They put up 31 on a salty LSU defense, but only 10 vs Auburn. A solid offensive front will help, but John Parker Wilson must take better care of the ball, after throwing 12 INT's last year.

Clemson's defense is loaded for bear in 2008. It all starts up front. Clemson's defensive line features depth, speed, and athletic ability.

Rashaad Jackson is a 6'3 285 pound beast in the middle. He is violent at the point of attack and disruptive. Also in this mix is 6'3, 300 pound run clogger Dorrel Scott, who at the behest of the staff has shed some 15-20 pounds in the off-season. These two will make running up the gut difficult. On one end is Ricky Sapp, who plays Bandit End, a hybrid of a LB and DE. At 6'4, 260, and running a 4.44 40, Sapp is a great pass rusher, and strong in coverage.
At the strongside end position, Kevin Alexander, a physical specimen in his own right, will have to fend off the #1 Recruit in the nation (per ESPN) in Dequan Bowers. Bowers is already at 6'4 280 at 18 years old. In the Spring game he had three sacks. It is unlikely he will be held off. This is an experienced, disruptive, deep unit.

At LB, Clemson finds itself in a similar position to Alabama. At one LB spot will be Scotty Cooper, who saw significant PT as a freshman last season. At 205, he is undersized, but a blazer that is great on the blitz and in coverage. Conner will play at another spot, and also had PT last season. Brandon Maye, an Alabama product, will probably start this season. He had a great Spring, but redshirted last season.

This is a fast group, but lacks experience as a unit.

The secondary is one of the best in the nation...at the starting spots. The secondary starts 2 Sr's and 2 Jr's, all of whom are returning starters, and all of whom helped lead Clemson's pass defense to a top 25 marker last year.

So what will happen?

Clemson will look to get pressure on Wilson with well-timed blitzes. Alabama in turn will hope to match up Grant with some inexperienced LB's. Ultimately, Clemson will give up its chunks of yards, but I think Alabama lacks the proven playmakers at wideout to stretch the Clemson defense enough for big points. Clemson has given up more than 30 points only twice the past three seasons.

Again, enough points to be competitive. 20-24 points for the Tide.
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