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Troupe Talk: National Title Deja Vu

By Ben Troupe
SouthernPigskin.com
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Former Florida All-American Ben Troupe weighs in on the 2020 National Championship between LSU and Clemson.

The 2020 CFB National Championship game had more storylines than I can remember.

Both teams came in unbeaten, both teams are the Tigers and both teams stadiums are known as Death Valley.

The last time LSU won a Natty it was in New Orleans. Clemson hadn't lost in almost 2 years. The Tigers were evenly matched on both sides, so the game itself would come down to whose identity would shine the brightest.

There was wall to wall coverage from every angle because of what was at stake and the fact that history was about to be made, but what I feel happened tonight was a case of deja vu. This was about Coach Orgeron looking across the field, staring at Coach Swinney and understanding that his reflection was wearing orange and doing his best impression of the coach that says bring your own guts.

You see, both coaches are mirror images of each other, not in appearance but approach. Both started as position coaches, then interim coaches and eventually got hired as the head coach. They both had visions of greatness for their respective squads, one just came later than the other. Both were doubted by supporters and critics alike. Both were strong in their conviction. Dabo had the hardware but Coach O would own the night.

He simply followed the blueprint: go out get high profile, talented coordinators, and on offense get a QB that could execute at a high level.

Bigger than that, when Swinney looked across the field, he saw a coach who did it his way, had faith in his coaches, players, and the process, but most importantly the belief in his vision. Coach O beat Swinney at his own game before the game even started because he knew Dabo’s every move before he even made it. Orgeron has been practicing and perfecting those moves all year long.

Coach O stared the hottest coach in CFB in the face and smiled at him because he knew that he was about to taste defeat on the biggest stage there is. Clemson was the first team to go 15-0 and Orgeron knew that Swinney wouldn't like the sequel.

With so much talk about recruiting classes and stars next to these players names, Coach O knew that he was the missing piece for LSU. Clemson lost the game through the air led by a superstar QB, the exact same way they won just a year ago. Clemson went from the victor to the victim. When both coaches met at the middle of the field for the congratulatory handshake, Swinney stopped and stared at Coach O because for a brief second he saw a man that reminded him a lot of himself wearing a purple polo.

The only problem was the shirt had LSU on it. After Swinney realized what was happening, he came to, said congrats, and he heard a man with a strong Cajun accent say ‘Go Tigers’.

Coach O stayed the course just like Dabo. He trusted the process just like Dabo. He took his lumps just like Dabo. When he hoisted up that National Championship trophy he said Go Tigers, just like Dabo. The 2020 CFB National Championship will go down in history as one of the greatest games to be played because LSU and Coach O won their way.

In football they say if you ain’t stealing, you ain't trying, so Coach O stole Swinney's style and technique and used it against him in the final game of the year.

Some could say it's Deja vu. Congrats LSU. Y’all earned it.

Ben Troupe - Troupe played tight end for the Florida Gators from 2000-2003, and earned first-team All-SEC recognition and first-team All-American honors from ESPN, Rivals and Sports Illustrated as a senior. After a standout college career, Troupe was selected 40th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, the first pick of the Tennessee Titans that spring. Currently, Troupe is a representative for the NFL Ambassadors via the College Outreach Program and the USA Football Youth and High School Program while also serving as an assistant master trainer for Head's Up coaching initiative. Troupe can be heard on ESPN Coastal's "Three & Out" with B.J. Bennett and Kevin Thomas.