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Clemson’s Deshaun Watson prepares for strong Alabama defense

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Deshaun Watson has looked forward to his Tampa trip, oh, for about a year now.

Watson, the Clemson quarterback, was among those who weren’t satisfied when the Tigers lost a 45-40 game to Alabama a year ago. Immediately, he suggested he would see everyone in Tampa.

“Just belief,” he said Wednesday in a teleconference. “That’s just the type of person I am. That’s it. I have high standards for me and my teammates, and this is where we wanted to be. We weren’t going to sit there and say we’re not going to be in Tampa or in the National Championship. That was one of the things, we wanted to be in the front again and be one of the best teams. Just having that belief and that’s it, going into the year and putting in the work.”

Watson said the Tigers’ preparation has been based on tapes from this year’s Alabama team, not last year’s.

“Last year is last year,” Watson said. “You can’t go based off last year. They have maybe – I want to say seven new starters, eight new starters on this defense, and everyone else is in the NFL. So totally different defense, so you’ve got to go based off this previous year. You can’t live on last year’s success. You’ve got to keep moving forward and see what’s going on this year.”

The Tide has 50 sacks this season. Watson is sure to face pressure.

“It won’t be a shell shock or a shock when we step on the field on Monday,” Watson said. “I think they’re very good and we’ve prepared and we’ve prepared the defense, so we’ll just turn our eyes to ourselves and keep moving forward and worry about Clemson.”

Win or lose, Watson has left a fine legacy at Clemson.

“Just leading this platform for the right reasons,” Watson had. “Help others, impact the community, and I’ve done it with no regrets, just had fun and enjoyed the time at Clemson.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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