Tag Archives: AJ McCarron

McCarron was cool with not talking to reporters

McCarron as seen Wednesday morning (Decatur Daily photo/Gary Cosby Jr.)

The meeting of AJ McCarron and the horde of reporters this morning wasn’t an every-day occurrence.

It was actually the fourth such assembly since the third-year sophomore quietly won the quarterback job over Phillip Sims.

Coach Nick Saban said his passer’s unavailability was his call, but McCarron said he wasn’t fighting the decision.

“Coach wanted me to go under the radar this year,” McCarron said. “… I don’t like to be around the camera light and all that a whole lot, but it was both of our decisions.”

McCarron, who was comfortable and insightful in front of the large media gathering, spoke after wins at Penn State, Florida, and Auburn before Wednesday. He’ll be available again Thursday during the full team’s hour-long media day in the Superdome.

Read several more notes like this one in tomorrow’s printed editions.


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McCarron: Tide offense viewed as ‘second class’ next to defense

This was a special day. AJ McCarron spoke with reporters for only the fourth time this season. And he was a pro with the hungry pack of wolves surrounding his podium. Take a listen to his thoughts on LSU, the Alabama defense, and a few more topics from this morning’s chat.


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Video of rare AJ McCarron interview

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron hasn’t been available for public comment since beating Florida on Oct. 1. After completing 18 of 23 passes for 183 yards and three touchdowns, the sophomore spent about 10 minutes taking questions. Here’s a part of that.

Click here for all Iron Bowl coverage.


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Video of Saban addressing McCarron’s interview policy

This was written about earlier in the week when Nick Saban answered a question about AJ McCarron by saying the quarterback could best answer it. He quickly acknowledged he doesn’t make the quarterback available for interviews.

So today, the question was why McCarron is off-limits (full disclosure, I was the one who asked the question if that matters). Here’s his response with a Steve Spurrier-versus-media reference at the end.

 

What do you think on the matter?


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Saban: Ask AJ; wait, you can’t

AP photo

A humorous moment came from Monday’s news conference when the microphone came to me.

After asking Nick Saban about the confidence AJ McCarron gained from hitting a few down-field passes against Vanderbilt, I received the following response:

“You ought to ask him … when you get a chance. I know I don’t make him available to you, but I’m sure it helped his confidence. But I didn’t ask him, and I really don’t know.”

Since preseason practices opened, McCarron has been made available to reporters three times. Once on media/fan day in early August, after the Penn State game and after the Florida game when most reporters were on deadline and physically unable to be there.

(Click here to see McCarron speaking on fan day)

It might not be as noticeable if former quarterback Greg McElroy wasn’t fielding questions twice a week for the past two seasons.

What do you think on the matter?


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Daughter doesn’t like Saban’s salty language

Associated Press photo

In the middle of what he’d call a teaching moment, CBS cameras caught the visual of Tide coach Nick Saban using a particularly taboo word Saturday night.

Quarterback AJ McCarron had just chased after Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley who’d been flagged for roughing the passer. The first-year starting quarterback was more than a little worked up.

So Saban attempted to neutralize the situation.

“I was trying to get him to settle down. And after about the fourth or fifth time of saying ‘Will you settle down, settle down, settle down, settle down,’ then I probably said something I wish I hadn’t said,” Saban said. “Because when your daughter tells you, that really makes you feel bad.”

The video of Saban mouthing the exclamatory expletive made the Internet rounds Sunday and Monday after the clip was isolated.

Click here if you’re not sure which word was said and you can read lips on a basic level.


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AJ McCarron takes heat, matures as top QB

There’s been a lot said about Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron in the past week. Looking back, it’s about the same time of the year Greg McElroy started taking heat in his first season starting in 2009.

Only he was throwing interceptions and facing notable declines in his effectiveness when the critics came out two seasons ago. McElroy took it personally, as he said in interviews.

McCarron hasn’t had a voice since he’s been off-limits to reporters all season except following the Penn State game. He’s also completing 66 percent of his passes and hasn’t thrown an interception since the opener against Kent State.

His teammates have noticed a difference in his performance.

“Absolutely. We did check a lot of stuff at the line of scrimmage,” center William Vlachos said. “That shows the confidence the coaches have in him. He’s matured very quickly this year and I couldn’t be prouder of him. The biggest thing that stands out to me is the decisions he has made. He hasn’t gotten us into any really bad plays or anything like that. Manage the game very well and made good decisions and the coaches trust him to go up there, identify things, check it off, and get us in the best play we can be in.”

What do you think. Is McCarron living up to his potential? Leave a comment below.


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Saban talks scripts, Thursday games, McCarron

Nick Saban made his weekly appearance on the SEC media teleconference this morning. Here’s the gist of what he said.

  • AJ McCarron is “a football junkie” and has the “arm talent” to do the job. His experience is invaluable at this point.
  • Saban was asked about the reason freshmen aren’t allowed to speak to the media. In his previous jobs, “prominent freshmen” spoke to reporters and “put themselves in harm’s way with some of the things they said.” It’s better, Saban learned, to allow young players to mature before speaking to guys like me.
  • The topic of offensive scripts also came up. Saban said it all started with former 49ers coach Bill Walsh sitting in his living room drawing up a plan. The scripted portion is where you typically see the greatest variation from previous game film.
  • Saban is no fan of Thursday night games partially because it disrupt class schedules and all aspects of campus life. Alabama ended up canceling classes last year when playing a rare Thursday night game with Georgia State.

More later. See you then.


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Saban updates QB situation

AJ McCarron directs traffic against Kent State. (Decatur Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.)

Two days before kicking off in State College, the Alabama quarterback competition remains unresolved.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Wednesday he’s shooting to solidify the game plan with AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims by Thursday.

“Both guys are working hard,” Saban said. “Both guys have a good attitude about what they’re trying to do and both guys are preparing well for the game.”

That fits the timetable Saban discussed Monday when he said progress made during the week would factor into one, or possibly both playing Saturday at Penn State.

His weekly radio show airs live starting at 7 p.m. Thursday. I’d listen.


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Four QBs set to play Saturday at Penn State (with links)

No, Alabama, you’re not alone. Penn State faces a similar quarterback battle that’s now in its second year. Here’s what I wrote about the situation in today’s print edition (with a corrected third paragraph):

TUSCALOOSA — The weather for State College, Pa., on Saturday afternoon calls for room temperatures and maybe a few showers.

That’s far from the muggy conditions Alabama used to its advantage a year ago when Penn State visited the Deep South.

Don’t expect such easy sledding when Alabama travels to Big Ten country for the first time in 22 years Saturday, Tide coach Nick Saban said. But like Alabama, the Nittany Lions are still sorting out a quarterback competition entering game week.

“Penn State is a very, very good team, a much different team than we played a year ago,” Saban said. “They seem like they play faster. I think the circumstances down here — it was real hot — probably affected them a little bit. They have more experience. The quarterbacks are playing better, which is probably the biggest key offensively.”

The Nittany Lions used two players under center in Saturday’s opener.

That continued a competition that dates back to last season. Rob Bolden, who started Penn State’s 24-3 loss in Tuscaloosa last September, was the first on the field for the Lions in their 41-7 win over Indiana State of the Football Championship Subdivision on Saturday. He completed 6 of 12 passes for 37 yards, while fellow quarterback Matt McGloin came off the bench to connect on 6 of 8 attempts for 77 yards for the run-heavy offense.

The mystery surrounding Alabama’s own quarterback competition remains, though Saban said a resolution was possible by the end of this week.

“We’re not going to name a starting quarterback today,” Saban said. “Later in the week as we see how the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game or if there’s some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us we’ll look at the option of doing that.”

Read the rest by clicking here or here.

The topic was also addressed extensively by newspapers up in Pennsylvania. Here’s a sampling of what they wrote.


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Video of McCarron throwing to receivers, tight ends

As you’ll see from the first few seconds of the video below, the weather is downright gross in Tuscaloosa today. The flags in front of Coleman Coliseum were close to blowing away a little bit ago.

Anyway, see AJ McCarron throw passes to Duron Carter, Michael Bowman, Kenny Bell and the Crimson Tide tight ends after the storm coverage. Check out the part where TE Harrison Jones bumps in with running back Eddie Lacy. More video to come.

 


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Saban assess QB situation entering Penn State week

Like usual, Nick Saban wasn’t waiting for the question about quarterbacks in his Monday news conference. He got right to the point in his opening statement on a soggy Labor Day in Tuscaloosa.

“We’re going to continue to develop both of the quarterbacks that we have. I’m not going to name a starting quarterback today. And later in the week as we see the two guys practice, we’ll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game …”

So does that mean the position will be determined by Saturday’s kick off in Happy Valley? Will it be AJ McCarron? Phillip Sims? Saban continues.

“Or, if there’s some combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us, we’ll look at the option of doing that. I think the most important thing that we want to focus on with both quarterbacks is what do we need to do to play as well as you’re capable of playing and continuing to improve and work through with both guys the importance of doing the little things right and the fundamental things right so you can play the way you’re capable of playing.

“I think both guys are capable of playing better than they did, not that we’re disappointed in either one of them. But, we still fell like we have two really good players at that position and both of those guys will continue to develop and help us somewhere down the road.”

To sum it up, maybe they’ll be one starter by Saturday. Maybe not. The depth chart distributed today lists McCarron and Sims as co-starters.

Stay tuned. This one isn’t over yet.

 


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Tide QBs to lose magic ‘force field’ Saturday

Watch any of the practice videos on this sight and you’ll see the Alabama quarterbacks don a different wardrobe on a daily basis. Instead of the white jersey worn by the rest of the offense, the black shirts act as a stop sign for defenders looking to make a hit.

Crimson Tide offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim McElwain refers to its as their “force field.”

AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims have yet to take a hit this August, or in the spring for that matter. Here’s my examination of the matter that ran in print today:

TUSCALOOSA — Take the snap. Drop back. Survey the field.

That part won’t change from practice to the game for Alabama’s co-starting quarterbacks AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims. What comes next is a different story.

Those black non-contact jerseys won’t travel down Bear Bryant Drive from the training grounds to the stadium. No, against Kent State in the 11:21 a.m., Saturday opener, the Tide quarterbacks will be facing live fire for the first time in a while.

For the redshirt freshman Sims, he’s yet to see a pass rusher with permission to take him down in college. McCarron took a few hits as a backup a year ago, but from the spring through August practice, he’s shared the protective shield granted to quarterbacks. That added dimension is just one storyline facing the two most analyzed passers in the state these days.

Head coach Nick Saban knows the variables change when the games count.

“I look out there on the practice field lots of days and say, ‘Would that guy have made that decision if he was going to get splattered on that play?’ ” Saban said. “There are some disadvantages to putting a black shirt on a quarterback and not allowing him to get hit.”

Read the rest by clicking here or here.


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Video of QBs and WRs warming up for scrimmage

A few hundred yards from here, the Alabama football team is scrimmaging. Allegedly. Before the rehearsal, we got quick look at the preparations. See the quarterbacks warming up with the receivers. More video to come.

 


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Quarterbacks embrace competition, even like each other

For eight months, nothing but silence from the two Alabama quarterbacks competing for a job. Shielded from reporters, AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims were the center of attention, but could say little about the speculation.

The dam broke Sunday when the two spoke about the dynamic. The quarterback story was a must for Monday’s paper. Here’s a preview:

TUSCALOOSA — AJ McCarron keeps hearing about his rivalry with Phillip Sims.

They hate each other, supposedly. Strange, McCarron thinks. He actually likes the quarterback with whom he’s competing for the starting job at Alabama. Really, it’s possible, he promised.

After months without speaking publicly about the red-hot topic, both sides had their say Sunday.

Turns out, the two enjoy each other’s company and the challenge presented. All the talk is just that, McCarron said.

“Me and him just laugh it off. It’s nothing like that,” he said. “We both know that we’re very good quarterbacks, and we’re both confident in our play and we don’t let ‘He said, she said, blah blah blah …’

“Nothing bothers us. We’re good. We’re friends.”

Read the rest by clicking here or here.

Watch extended interviews with Sims and McCarron.

Then vote on the poll.

 

Then finally, buy a newspaper. It’s worth your while.


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