Alabama Football: One Injury Away From Disaster?
By: Larry Burton
Last week we published an article that said that the injury to Sunseri and the others that have happened would simply show that Alabama is a team that could absorb such injuries and show just what a “whole team” or championship team they were. Indeed Landon Collins filling in for Sunseri certainly proved that point as he took an interception to the house just as Vinnie Sunseri has done earlier in the year.
But is there one injury that Alabama simply couldn’t take? If so, that person may be AJ McCarron.
McCarron may very well be Alabama’s “Iron Man” as he has played through injuries and not missed starts, but what if he did have a season ending injury? Would the Tide cease to roll?
McCarron doesn’t get the headlines that other quarterbacks do. He doesn’t get the gasps of making unbelievable plays that often. In fact, McCarron has the unfortunate ability to make everything he accomplished seem easy, maybe too easy. One case in point is the catch that Kevin Norwood made flying through the air and landing on his back. All the credit went to Norwood.
But for every such catch that an Alabama receiver made that was a circus catch, there have two balls that were dropped that shouldn’t have been.
McCarron’s “Game Manager” label has seem to stick even though there have been times when he simply took over the game.
By making everything he does look so easy, there are those who would say that any competent quarterback could run that well oiled machine that is the Alabama offense.
What they fail to realize is that it is McCarron who is oiling that machine. Without him, it could grind to a halt. One could be absolutely sure that a McCarron injury would make every defensive coordinator they face stack the line and dare the substitute to beat them with their arm.
Having the best receiving corps in football won’t matter if the sub is either too rattled or simply unable to get the ball to them.
While Sims has proven to be an able backup in mop up duty, could he carry the load and win games against SEC opponents?
Sims has gone 16 for 25 so far this season in mop up duty against worn out defenses. He’s only thrown for an average of 22 yards a game in limited duty. Though the coaches say he’s refined his throwing motion, he’s still not a stellar looking passer and any skills he has as a runner would be negated by a stacked line.
The only other quarterback to draw praise from head coach Nick Saban has been Alec Morris, who the Tide was red shirted last season and has yet to throw a pass this year.
The 6’3″ Morris has a three inch advantage over Sims and about 30 pounds more weight. He also has a stronger arm. Morris may have the ability more so that Sims to keep defenses from stacking the line. Morris does have the ability to throw deep and keep defenses honest.
But one thing is for sure, neither option would be McCarron, neither would make it look easy and no substitute quarterback on Alabama’s bench would match McCarron’s numbers.
For those who take McCarron and his efficient game winning mannerisms and ability for granted, the old saying is true, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter