It was a busy Christmas Eve for the College Football Nation and their playoff teams. Earlier in the day, three Clemson Tigers including star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence tested positive for banned substances. Later in the day, the Alabama Crimson Tide had news shortly after their arrival to Miami, Florida. Alabama suspends guard Deonte Brown and two other players for violation of teams rules. They are suspended for the 2018 Orange Bowl College Football semi-final matchup against the Oklahoma Sooners.
Deonte Brown’s lack of presence with the Crimson Tide
Alabama isn’t new to this is kind of news before a big game in pursuit of a National Title. Regardless, it comes at an inconvenient time as the Tide are in pursuit of their third National Title in five years. Brown has been a consistent offensive lineman for the Crimson Tide throughout despite battling a turf toe injury. He suffered that turf toe injury on November 10th against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. He missed the following week against the Citadel Bulldogs with Lester Cotton filling in for the starting role. Throughout the following weeks, he was slowing recovering his way to playing healthy. Brown left the SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs by reinjuring his turf toe. While in preparation for the matchup against Oklahoma, Brown was practicing with the 2nd-team offense with Cotton as the starter.
This was only temporary as head coach Nick Saban was looking forward to Brown coming back healthy. With the news that he, 3rd string tight end Kendrick James, and reserve Offensive lineman Elliot Baker not going on the trip, those plans have changed. Cotton is projected to start at the left guard position. Cotton hasn’t been consistent in the past years as a starter nor while filling in for Brown. The Crimson Tide will be facing a Sooners defense that is inefficient at stopping their opponent’s score. They rank 96th in the nation in points allowed per game (32.4). The Sooners tied for 53rd highest in the nation in sacks accounted for with 28 sacks. Sooners linebacker Kenneth Murray has accounted for four sacks and 12 tackles for loss and linebacker Curtis Bolton has accounted for four sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss.
Crimson Tide moving on with the matchup against Oklahoma
Saban knows how to keep his teams from being distracted in huge bowls especially with suspensions. One big player gets injured or suspended and another heavily recruited star player takes their place. The Crimson Tide can stay focused as they’ve already started practice after arriving in Miami. Cotton’s experience helps him in his knowledge of the offense, but he will need to be more efficient in his blocks. The Crimson Tide are looking for their first win over the Oklahoma Sooners since 1963. They’re also looking to avenge their loss to the Sooners in the 2014 Sugar Bowl where they lost 45-31. Alabama will face the Sooners in the 2018 Orange Bowl on December 29th at 8 PM EST.