Clemson Football looks to limit Alabama’s Calvin Ridley once again

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11: Calvin Ridley
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11: Calvin Ridley /

In the last two matchups between Clemson football and Alabama, Calvin Ridley has been non-existent. The Tigers secondary looks to take Ridley out of the game for the third straight year.

For as much praise Clemson’s defense is given, their secondary is often overlooked. The Tigers enter the 2017 College Football Playoff, with one of the top secondary’s in the country.

Clemson defensive coordinator, Brent Venables has his work cut out for him against Alabama. The Tide sit 11-1, however, they have multiple weaknesses on the offensive side of the ball.

Jalen Hurts, while improved mentally, remains a flawed passer. Alabama’s offense as a whole, struggles through the air. Outside of Calvin Ridley, the Tide’s receiving core is talented, but unproven.

The Key for Clemson defensively

Shutting down Calvin Ridley is the most pressing issue for Clemson’s defense. In the past, the Tigers have all but removed him from the game. In the past two contests between Clemson and Alabama, Ridley has 11 receptions for 50 yards and 0 touchdowns.

Alabama was able to overcome Ridley’s lack of production due to the stellar play of tight end, O.J. Howard. With Howard gone to the NFL, Ridley is now the Tide’s clear-cut No. 1 option.

See also: Clemson won’t miss Alabama TE, O.J. Howard

Unfortunately for Alabama, they lack a true No. 2 option at wide receiver. On the year, Ridley has 55 receptions, while the rest of the Tide’s receivers have a combined 53 receptions. There is clearly a lack of balance in the passing game.

True freshman, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III have shown flashes, but have ultimately been inconsistent. Against Clemson’s long and experienced secondary, I’m not sure that Jeudy and Ruggs III will do much of anything.

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As crazy as it sounds, I believe there is a real possibility of Clemson winning this game by 2-scores. This matchup with Alabama reminds me of the Tigers highly-anticipated bought with Ohio State last season. The Buckeyes were good, but, they didn’t matchup well with the Tigers offensively.