Alabama defensive line Jonathan Allen chuckled when asked to give rival Auburn advice in facing Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson on Sept. 3 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The Crimson Tide won the National Championship game 45-40 over Clemson in January. The defense celebrated the win, but the tape of the game isn’t one Allen is going to pop in his blu-ray player thanks to Watson’s MVP worthy performance.
Watson shredded the Tide’s defense to the tune of 478 yards and four touchdowns.
“I was very disappointed,” Allen said as one of Alabama’s player representatives Wednesday morning at SEC Media Days. “As a defense you want to win, but you want to win a 10-7 game. We are happy we won, but that’s a game I won’t be revisiting too often.”
Allen admitted his simple suggestion for Auburn to “contain Deshaun Watson” is easier said than done.
“There’s definitely things we could have done to contain him better, but when a player is on his game like that it’s going to be very hard to contain and stop him,” Allen said.
The first team All-SEC defender didn’t hesitate in labeling Clemson’s dual threat quarterback the best he’s faced at the position.
Watson threw for 4,104 yards as a junior last year with 35 touchdowns. He also eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark with 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns, rushing for more than 100 yards in five of his team’s last seven games.
“His ability to elude pressure, his accuracy on the run, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Allen said. “It’s not a shot at any other quarterback we played he is just an outstanding talent and I just got to give him credit.”
Alabama safety Eddie Jackson offered Watson similar praise.
“Dashawn Watson is a great player,” Jackson said. “He is one of the best athletes that we faced all year. He’s a big guy, and you try to contain him. He’s athletic ability did some things that we couldn’t stop. He’s a good player and we tried to contain him to the best of our ability. He had some great plays.”
Auburn is the only team in the country that plays both teams that appeared in last year’s national championship game, bookending its seasons with Clemson and Alabama. Allen was asked about the Crimson Tide’s recent dominance in the Iron Bowl, but gave a diplomatic response.
“I expect Auburn to come back very strong this year,” Allen said. “You can’t sleep on any team especially any team in the SEC West. It’s going to be a dogfight. We are going to be prepared for that.”