Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

McCarron can cement his Alabama Crimson Tide legacy with second BCS title

MIAMI — The coincidence most likely isn't lost on AJ McCarron.

The junior quarterback leads Alabama in search of its second consecutive national title when the Crimson Tide meets Notre Dame on Monday night in Miami, the home of his favorite college team during his childhood.

But one look at McCarron's career and you might come to the conclusion he has: This was just meant to be.

"You know, I grew up a big Miami Hurricanes fan," said McCarron, a native of Mobile, Ala. "I love the U, but I just felt like, at the end of the day, it was the best situation for me to stay in the state, play for Coach (Nick) Saban."

It is a decision that has paid off for McCarron and Alabama. He is 24-2 as a starter and has won an SEC title and a BCS national championship title. In his two years he has thrown for 5,692 yards. And first-year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier says he has the potential to be even better.

"AJ's ceiling is so high," Nussmeier said. "I feel like he's just starting to scratch the surface of where he's going to go as a player."

In a position that is so high profile in a program that can be described as nothing short of sacred among its loyal fans, he is part of a lineage that includes names such as Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Ken Stabler.

In other words, it's not easy being McCarron.

"Playing quarterback at the University of Alabama, everybody knows it can be tough, but I think when they expect so much out of you, I think it also brings the best out of you as a player because you never really want to let anybody down, especially your teammates, because you go out every Saturday expecting to win," he said.

"I think in the end it helps you as a player grow and actually become a winner and know how to win."

McCarron has the arm strength and enough speed to be a different type of quarterback from the role he primarily has had at Alabama: the guy known most for handing the ball to big-time running backs, such as Eddie Lacy this season. But he bristles at the notion that his job is simply "to manage the game."

So, too, does Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, who said McCarron's importance to the Tide is immeasurable.

"He's the driver," Diaco said. "He's the coach on the field. You can see he puts them in the right spots. … The quarterback conducts the game, just like if Nick Saban was taking the snap himself.

"He doesn't put the team in bad spots. He doesn't make poor decisions with the ball. He's working the game and managing the game and putting the offense in the appropriate plays, just like you'd think the inside linebacker or the safety would do for their defense. It's really an incredible organization to watch offensively led by the quarterback."

If McCarron can lead Alabama to victory Monday night, he will cement his legacy among Crimson Tide quarterbacks. But for the kid whose parents grew up rabid Tide fans and dreamed of this moment for their son, it's not really about anything but winning for his team. And how would he like to be remembered?

"I'm not the type of guy to really think (about that)," McCarron said. "As long as my teammates know that I'm a good leader, my coaching staff knows that I'm going to go out to win every game, I take everything serious. … But hopefully at the end of the day they can at least say I was a winner, that the team I was part of was a winner."

McCarron can cement his Alabama Crimson Tide legacy with second BCS title 01/04/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 10:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jose De Leon sent back to minors after helping Rays win

    Blogs

    RHP Jose De Leon worked 2 2/3 innings to get the win in his Rays debut Monday and then was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.

    De Leon was brought up to provide length and depth in the bullpen after the Rays played 15 innings on Sunday, and he did that, allowing three runs on four hits while throwing 69 …

  2. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    The Rays had good reason to have faith in RHP Erasmo Ramirez starting Monday after closing Sunday based on his resiliency, versatility and efficiency. But it still turned out to be a bad idea as he allowed four runs without getting through three innings.

  4. Rays journal: Dugout bench becomes bed for Logan Morrison at end of long night

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rays found creative ways to get through the physical and mental fatigue of the 6½ hours they spent playing — and ultimately winning — Sunday's game in Minnesota.

    Corey Dickerson drapes towels over an exhausted Logan Morrison in the dugout during the 15th inning of Sunday’s marathon victory.
  5. Rays at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. Tuesday, Arlington, Texas

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Rangers

    8:05, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 2: Nick Martinez #22 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during photo day at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2015 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)