Comparing Bama and Clemson: Tide has a feeder system, Tigers are about family
|Saturday, July 13, 2019, 8:01 AM- -|
Clemson and Alabama are the top two programs in college football these days, but head coaches Nick Saban of the Crimson Tide and Tiger head coach Dabo Swinney have gone about it in vastly different ways. Alabama is about the feeder system while Clemson is about family.
Ohio St. won the National Championship in 2014, but Bama won it in 2015, Clemson in 2016, Bama in 2017, and Clemson in 2018. Both programs are favored to return to the College Football Playoff this season and perhaps play each other for a fifth consecutive year.
Both programs are successful but do it in different ways according to ACC Network analyst Roddy Jones.
“I think first and foremost, what Dabo has done is instilled an incredible culture at Clemson. That is the first thing I would say,” Jones said this week. “Culture is the buzzword that everybody throws around – we have to get the right guys in and we have to get everybody rolling in the same direction – but Dabo has really done it.
“He has built a program where guys go there and they are going to compete their butts off, and then he is going to love all of them. And then Clemson is going to love all of them and get incredible resources around them and give them the best opportunity to be successful. And then it doesn’t hurt that over the course of his career at Clemson, he has steadily recruited better and better.”
Jones likes to compare the two programs.
“When you compare the two teams that have separated themselves from the rest of college football – I am talking about Alabama and I am talking about Clemson – they have done it in incredibly different ways,” he said. “Alabama has made itself into a feeder system. We are going to get you to the next level, whether it’s a coach or a player. Everybody goes there with the expectation that hey, I am going to be here for a finite amount of time and then I am going to go on to bigger and better things.”
The culture Swinney has at Clemson makes coaches – and players – want to stay as long as possible.
“Clemson is the exact opposite. We are going to come in and welcome you into this family and make sure you understand exactly what we have going on here,” Jones said. “You don’t have guys at Alabama turning down first round draft picks to come back and play a senior year. You have that at Clemson and now you now you’ve seen it a few years in a row. Last year you had the defensive linemen and then this year you had Isaiah Simmons, who is a an absolute freak and can do anything on the back part of the defense.
“He was a borderline first round pick and he turned that down to come back to Clemson. You don’t see that at other programs around the country but you do see that at Clemson. I will tell you this – Dabo Swinney has lost three assistant coaches in his 11 years at Clemson. Chad Morris went to be the coach at SMU at the time and then he had a coach retire and a coach go to the NFL. Three guys at one of the top programs in college football. Those guys love that place and they know Dabo is going to take care of them.”