SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jimmy Greenbeans, the alter ego of Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, has officially pumped the brakes when it comes to his role as Clemson's scout team quarterback for the 2018 season.
Contrary to popular perception, it was not Venables who took over the role of playing Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in practice to prepare Clemson's defense for a Monday night national championship showdown against one of America's most prolific passers.
Instead, that responsibility belonged to Ben Batson, a former walk-on quarterback whom Clemson originally signed to play safety until quarterback transfers ran their course and coach Dabo Swinney needed another arm in the mix.
Batson is the son of Clemson strength and conditioning coordinator Joey Batson and, undeniably, this was the most important week of his freshman season.
Tagovailoa is one of the most elite quarterbacks in the nation, joined by Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.
Greenbeans, Venables said, was happy to report that Batson's job was satisfactory.
"Ben did great. He can really sling it and he's very athletic and can run around really well," Venables said.
The Tigers' defense needed that.
Don't like Clemson-Alabama?
Swinney and Alabama coach Nick Saban, as well as each of their players, have all heard the narrative all week long that the Crimson Tide and Tigers playing each other for the third time in four years with the title on the line is perhaps bad for college football.
Players on both teams had similar answers: teams that feel left out should beat either Alabama or Clemson, and that would solve their problems.
Saban and Swinney echoed that sentiment, refusing to play into this storyline that their programs are bad for the sport.
"I mean, I'm not going to apologize for having a great team and a great program and a bunch of committed guys, and coach Saban is not, either," Swinney said. "I think the objective is to get the two best teams. That's kind of the way it is. If that's not best for college football, then why did we even do it?"
Tagovailoa sustained a high-ankle sprain against Georgia in Alabama's SEC Championship matchup that Alabama is still currently managing heading into Monday. Tagovailoa looked stellar against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl semifinal with 318 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, he has indicated all week he should be fine for Monday night.
He is still receiving treatment.
"After the Oklahoma game, when the adrenaline kind of ran off, I could feel the muscles around the ankle. It was fatigue, and I'd say that's the only time it was hurting," Tagovailoa said. "I've been in a boot, and I'm getting treatment right now, as well. We've got this Firefly stim unit on, and we've got a stim unit on as well. I think Jeff Allen and our athletic training staff have done a tremendous job up to this point helping me get better."