‘It doesn’t feel real.’ The stage in Alabama locker room after ancestral loss

The towel covering Tua Tagovailoa’s conduct kept him from observant a confetti cannon positioning behind Alabama’s bench.

There were a few indignant faces staring into a stretch as Clemson’s rope dismissed off one some-more quarrel strain before a time strike zero. Nobody had a 4 fingers in a atmosphere in a shutting moments of a Crimson Tide’s many unilateral detriment of a Nick Saban era. The play had long-since died during that point.

The overwhelming theatre during a finish of Clemson 44, Alabama 16 was opposite from a one witnessed in Tampa dual years ago.

There was no last-second tummy punch, though an evening-long bludgeoning that left a weird mist over a easterly sideline in Levi’s Stadium on Monday night.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Alabama using behind Josh Jacobs pronounced seated during his locker while Clemson partied down a gymnasium and around a corner.

A few mins earlier, a good Hale Hentges got a cuddle from receivers manager Josh Gattis as he walked off a domain one final time. Orange and purple confetti drifted all around them. Last year’s hero, DeVonta Smith, hugged this year’s beginner pass-catching star Justyn Ross after his 6-catch, 153-yard night helped finish off his home-state team.

“You usually don’t ready yourself for this,” Hentges pronounced during his locker, eyes still red. “Here during Alabama, we apparently do a good job. I’ve mislaid 4 games here my whole career. It usually doesn’t get any easier. We usually do such a good pursuit here of always executing. And when we don’t execute, it’s tough to understanding with it. It usually hurts. That’s a biggest thing. Just hurt.”

That best described a feel in Alabama’s locker room.

It wasn’t like a final time when Hunter Renfrow held that pass with a second left to win a 2016 title. That sauce room was library wordless — about as worried a room to enter as an alien — after losing in a final second.

This one had time to origin on a Alabama sideline. A few stages of grief had upheld by a time a doors swung open for media interviews. There were no threats from players reluctant to say what usually happened.

They had a difference this Monday night in Santa Clara.

“It’s embarrassing,” Jacobs said. “I mean, that’s a usually approach we can explain it. Embarrassing. Especially when we know it should have been different. we don’t wish to pronounce on it too much.”

The confetti cannon is placed behind Alabama’s dais in a shutting seconds of Clemson’s CFP pretension diversion win over a Tide.  Michael Casagrande | mcasagrande@al.com

They were entrance to grips with Clemson doing to Alabama what Alabama does many of a time. The 1998 Music City Bowl was a final time a Tide mislaid by 28 points — a 38-10 final opposite Virginia Tech to finish 7-5.

That was a Mike DuBose epoch when inhabitant pretension expectations had faded. It wasn’t handed down on a sport’s biggest theatre with a manager a win divided from flitting Bear Bryant for a many championship titles.

This was an Alabama group that won each unchanging deteriorate diversion by during slightest 21 points. This was an Alabama group that finished bleeding teams in third buliding 143-51 this deteriorate before observant a domain dilate with 13-0 necessity this time.

While defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs pronounced he never felt like Alabama was out of that game, a certain existence set in that this wasn’t usually going to be an catastrophic night, though historically so.

Hentges described that contemplative impulse of realization.

“You have to weigh yourself as a man,” he said. “We apparently didn’t wish that measure to be that lopsided.”

This was also an Alabama group that survived a grave final Jan opposite Georgia in a pretension diversion and again final month in a SEC championship.

They usually never incited that corner. There was no spectacle moment, no second-and-26 or wizard off a bench.

The mistakes usually cascaded their approach to this 28-point loss.

“I wish we would have led these guys better,” pronounced Hentges, a comparison who played his final diversion Monday. “But that’s OK. At a finish of a day, we left a lot out on a table. We unequivocally stopped ourselves a lot.

“I consider everybody’s ill to their stomach about that.”

With that came a ambience of that never-waste-a-failure speak that was already listened in Alabama’s locker room Monday night.

There were even a few light moments absent from a Tampa aftermath. Jacobs half chuckled observant this wasn’t a initial time he’d coped with a detriment this large since “in high school, we never unequivocally won.”

And because was Jalen Hurts wearing his jersey after bark off his shoulder pads?

“I don’t have another shirt,” he pronounced with a mini grin. “I didn’t wish to go out there with my chest out.”

Clemson descent coordinator Tony Elliott with Alabama’s Quinnen Williams after 44-16 Tiger win over a Tide in a CFP championship.  Michael Casagrande | mcasagrande@al.com

By 9:30 p.m. internal time, many of Alabama’s locker room had emptied. Players faced a prolonged travel down a Levi’s Stadium behind hallways to a watchful group buses. A few celebrating Clemson fans stopped to take selfies outward a Crimson Tide locker room before Clemson even began a postgame news conference.

Walking delayed from a Alabama sauce room, left tackle Jonah Williams grabbed a white cosmetic bag and began a travel out.

Chipotle was a post-game dish for players to eat as they exited a stadium.

“Nothing fancy,” a tyro workman said.

Just a burrito and chips to digest a many unilateral Alabama detriment in 20 years.

Michael Casagrande is an Alabama kick author for a Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Facebook.

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