Clemson’s secondary has one major goal for Monday’s Sugar Bowl matchup against Alabama – limit Calvin Ridley.
“He’s their go-to. He’s the answer for them,” Tigers cornerback Ryan Carter said. “We’ve got to try to limit Ridley, and I think if we do that we’ll have a great chance of winning the game. … If we take care of Ridley, we’ll be fine.”
The junior has caught 55 passes for 896 yards this season, which far and away leads the Crimson Tide.
The rest of the receivers on Alabama’s roster have combined for 53 catches.
So why has Ridley been thrown to so many more times than anyone else on the team? Senior receiver Robert Foster, who has 11 catches for 146 yards, believes receivers are not at fault for the discrepancy.
“I don’t think it’s us as receivers that need to step up,” Foster said. “It’s just that I feel like we’re all doing our job, but wherever the quarterback chooses to throw the ball is his decision.”
Foster went on to say that it is tough when you feel like you are getting open, but the ball isn’t coming your way.
“It’s definitely been frustrating in my eyes,” he said. “It’s not that we’re not doing our job. It’s not that we’re not getting open for him. It’s just whatever decision that he’s making to place the ball is where he’s putting the ball.”
Even though it has not happened yet, fellow receiver Cam Sims believes the rest of the receiving corps will be more involved in the offense against Clemson, particularly if the Tigers put a lot of focus on stopping Ridley.
“They can try to do that,” Sims said. “I ain’t gonna say it would be a bad thing for them. But it ain’t gonna be a good thing for them either.”
Ridley, a Florida native, added that he is hopeful Alabama will spread the ball around more against the Tigers.
He feels confident that the other receivers on the roster are ready to step up.
“We just haven’t gotten the ball to them. That’s all I can say,” Ridley responded when asked why he has 42 more catches than the Crimson Tide’s No. 2 receiver.
“The guys in my room, they have all the talent to go out there and make a bunch of catches, a bunch of plays. And they are going to do it.”