The common theme coming out of Tuscaloosa these days isn’t that Clemson beat Alabama in the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. But Alabama beat Alabama on that chilly January night in Santa Clara, Calif.
The Tigers humbled Alabama, 44-16, that night. It was the worst defeat by a Crimson Tide team in 25 years and the worst ever for a Nick Saban coached team.
Led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s 20-of-32 performance for 347 yards and three touchdowns, Clemson whipped ‘Bama in just about every area.
However, on Friday’s Paul Finebaum Show on ESPN, Tua Tagovailoa said the loss ‘was the cumulative of things that we weren’t doing right that we were just getting away with’ in other games.
On Saturday, Tagovailoa’s head coach backed up his words up. During ESPN’s broadcast of Alabama’s Spring Game, Nick Saban said they lost what they call “The Bama Factor.”
“We have always played with a lot of discipline and we have always had people that have been responsible and accountable for doing their job at a high level and a high standard on a pretty consistent basis,” he said. “We have always had people put the team first.
“From the LSU game on last year, I thought we started to lose that a little bit. I don’t know if we lost our humility, which can cause a little bit of complacency and blatant disregard for doing what is right.”
Saban said they had a lot of internal distractions from players worrying about their draft stock, to coaches focused on other jobs.
“It was a little disappointing we could not keep it together,” he said. “Obviously, it is my responsibility to keep everyone up to snuff in all of those areas. But I think sometimes when you lose, people are much more willing to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to look in the mirror now and what is the truth about what we did and did not do.’
“It is not that we lost, but we did not play very well. We did not play very well in some of the games that we won. People are realizing that if we really want to do this the right way and it get done, we have to change. We have to buy in and do things the ‘Bama way.”
Saban did say Clemson exposed them for who they were in the championship game and said that loss has allowed them the opportunity to learn something about themselves.