Stephen's Report

Alabama Crimson Tide: Could AJ McCarron be the One?

When you enter the University of Alabama, what is the first thing you recognize? If I had to take a poll on this question, the responses I would receive would range from different buildings on campus to Coleman Coliseum.  For Southeastern Conference football fans, the first thing they recognize is the stadium that seats 101, 821 fans on Saturdays and the enriching history behind it. Bryant-Denny Stadium, which is named after legendary head coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant, is more than just an enjoyable place for fans and a hostile environment for opposing teams. If one was to take a tour of this stadium, they would immediately be emerged into the atmosphere of three things: the winning tradition of the Crimson Tide, the statues that represent the three best coaches of Alabama football (Paul “Bear” Bryant, Gene Stallings and Nick Saban) and the Walk of Champions. Though these three things are significant, there is a fourth reason as to why we are so addicted to Alabama football that being the quarterbacks. As a coach, you can have ten of the best players on field offensively, but without a good field general the team will struggle. In their illustrious history, the Alabama Crimson Tide has had its share of bringing in the best and brightest players to compete at the quarterback position. Though the production value of starting QB’s struggled in recent years in the eras of Mike Price, Mike DuBose, Dennis Franchione and Mike Shula, it is now starting to really prosper under the leadership of coach Saban.

For Coach Bryant, he had two quarterbacks that set the bar high for generations to come. Both Joe Namath and Kenny “The Snake” Stabler are legends to players and fans in Alabama. The reason why is because both of them won a national championship for the Crimson Tide. It is great to break every passing statistic in college football, it is great to have the support of the fans, coaches, and teammates behind you; it is even great to play on the national stage where every eye is on you, but for quarterbacks the only thing that takes you from being ordinary to elite in college football is to win a national title. Here is a list of former quarterbacks from the University of Alabama, some these guys got the job done and some did not.

 

Quarterbacks Years Coach Record as a starter Championships
Kenny Stabler 1965-67 Paul “Bear” Bryant 28-3-2 2 (1 as starting QB)
Joe Namath 1962-64 Paul “Bear” Bryant 29-4 1
Jay Barker 1992-94 Gene Stallings 35-2-1 1
Brodie Croyle 2002-05 Mike Shula 20-17 0
John P. Wilson 2005-08 Nick Saban 23-15 0
Greg McElroy 2007-10 Nick Saban 24-3 1

 

For those of you who thoroughly observed the chart above, there are two things you should take away from it. The quarterbacks on this chart have either won a national championship once maybe twice or they have not won at all. In this upcoming season that statistic may change. The change may be provided from the 6 ft. 4 in. 205 pound native of Mobile, AL, senior quarterback AJ McCarron. In his arrival at the University of Alabama in 2009 as a freshman, McCarron was known as a natural gun-slinger. Like all freshman, McCarron had to sit back, learn the mindset of Coach Nick Saban and back up starting QB Greg McElroy. In the past two seasons, fans of the SEC along with the Alabama Crimson Tide have gotten a glimpse of what they’ve hoped for when McCarron came to Tuscaloosa. Though he has made his share of mistakes, McCarron has truly grown up before our eyes and is not afraid of the big stage and the big moment. In just three years, AJ McCarron has accomplished winning three BCS National Championships (two as the starting QB) and two SEC Championships (one as the starting QB). He has become the leader of this team and has gained the trust of Nick Saban. As his confidence continues to grow, he still has the opportunity to do one thing that no other quarterback has done in the history of the University of Alabama and that is to win four National Championship and three as the starting quarterback. McCarron could very well be the one to achieve this because all of his weapons are back for this season. The question for him is can he continue to play within himself and manage games well? If he is able to do this then it will be a career for him that will be talked about for years to come. Here are the statistics on AJ McCarron in the past two seasons as the starting QB for Alabama.

 

Year Completions Passing Yds. Touchdowns Interceptions QB Rating Championships
2011 66.8 percent 2,634 yards 16 5 147.3 1 BCS
2012 67.2 percent 2,933 yards 30 3 175.3 2 (SEC & BCS)

 

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