McCarron is fine with team honors over individual accolades
by Marq Burnett
mburnett@annistonstar.com
Nov 11, 2013 | 1824 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabama's AJ McCarron is 34-2 as a starter. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Alabama's AJ McCarron is 34-2 as a starter. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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TUSCALOOSA -- For Alabama's AJ McCarron, no individual award could replace the team success he has had during his college career.

The fifth-year senior is a long shot to win the program’s second Heisman Trophy. Bovada, a sportsbook in Las Vegas, has McCarron as a 7-1 shot to win the Heisman, trailing Florida State's Jameis Winston at 1-5 and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel at 4-1.

But he has a 34-2 record as Alabama's starting quarterback and two national championship rings, and his focus is solely on the Tide’s next opponent, Mississippi State.

“It’s an honor to be in the talks, but that’s the last thing on my mind,” McCarron said recently during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. “I’m a happy guy going home to my family and looking at the national championship rings that we achieved as a team. No individual award can replace those. So, it’s the last thing on my mind and it really doesn’t bother me at all and I really don’t care.”

The Mobile native has thrown for 2,041 yards and 19 touchdowns this season with just three interceptions. He’s also completing 69.4 percent of his passes. McCarron has led the Crimson Tide to the No. 1 ranking across the board in the polls. The Tide is on pace for a third straight national title, which no team has accomplished since the poll era began in 1936.

But when it comes to debates about who is the best quarterback in the nation, there are a few names mentioned before McCarron is brought up.

McCarron said “I love it” when discussing his feelings toward other quarterbacks being regarded higher than him and when people overlook his accomplishments.

“I think it makes me the player I am today,” McCarron told Patrick. “I feel disrespected at times. When I step out on the field, people can say cocky or confident or whatever they want to say, but I think I’m the best quarterback in the nation at all times when I get out on the field. I try not to talk and I try to stay out of the media and everything. I just want my play to do the talking. … People can say whatever they want. I’m happy I’m playing for this team.”

His coach, Nick Saban, sees McCarron as the “ultimate team guy” and gushes with praise when giving the opportunity to speak about his quarterback.

“I think AJ did a really good job, goes unnoticed in terms of his leadership and how he affected our offensive team playing much, much better in the second half,” Saban said. “He was very aggressive in the huddle in terms of trying to get the guys going and getting them to do the things we needed to do to be successful.

"I think that kind of leadership is really important on our team. It also shows that for him, that’s more important than how many yards he throws for or how many passes we throw or whatever it is.”

While every player may not have always initially have a team-first mentality, Saban said it’s an important part of the program’s overall success.

“Does every player want the ball, does every receiver want to catch passes, does every runner want to gain yards? Absolutely,” Saban said. “That’s all great to have those kind of individual goals and I’m sure AJ has a lot of individual goals as well.

"To put that ahead of team success is something that would be detrimental to us being effective."

Saban added that without players such as McCarron and All-America linebacker C.J. Mosley putting the team first, it would be tough to win like Alabama has.

"I think that's the only way you can have a successful team that plays with any kind of consistency that has a chance to be successful in the long run.”
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