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Alabama's AJ McCarron talks Notre Dame, Barrett Jones and shoe fetish

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron addressed the media Thursday morning before his team's first BCS National Championship practice in Miami. He was joined at the news conference by his offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

McCarron discussed the Notre Dame defense, his relationship with Barrett Jones and his alleged shoe fetish.

What drew you to Alabama and what it's like being a quarterback in the fishbowl that is Alabama?

"You know, I grew up a big Miami Hurricanes fan. 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 Saban. I felt like it was the best opportunity for my parents to come watch me every weekend close to home, only three hours away. I mean, that was my thinking behind the whole decision. "But 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. I think in the end, it helps you as a player grow and actually become a winner and know how to win." When you first met Coach Nussmeier this past off-season, what was that interaction like, where was it, and how much did you guys know about each other at that time? "(Smiling) I was kind of let down I had to work with him. No, I'm just kidding.

"Coach has always been, like I said, he's been outstanding to me. He's helped me grow as a quarterback more than I ever thought I really could. Like I said, I never look at stats, but the other day I was talking to my dad about it, and he kind of blew me away just on how few pass attempts I've had and my numbers compared to last year. I think he's helped me grow in the aspect of learning when to throw the ball away a lot more than I did last year.

"Like I said, he's helped me. It's been an honor working with Coach Nuss. I can't say enough about him. He's always helped me." What stands out about Notre Dame's defense when you see them on film? "They do a really good job of making big plays on the defensive side. Most of the time your thinking going into the game is to win the offense from big plays, but their defense makes a lot of big plays, too.

"They do a really good job in the red area. I mean, they're first in the nation in almost every category on defense, so they're really good. We're just going to have to bring our "A" game."

You've got the opportunity to win two national championships. Is that something you've been made aware of by all the avid fans at Alabama? And talk about the historical significance of doing that.

"Yeah, growing up in the State of Alabama, you definitely hear about all of that, so I probably definitely heard that a little bit more than what I want. But you know, it's a great honor to be in that category of quarterbacks that have played here. But I think it's a tremendous honor to play with my teammates. I think it shows the will that they have to win. I mean, it's not about me. None of this would be possible without them. I definitely want to thank them for everything they've done, for us having this opportunity and for myself to have this opportunity." Talk about your relationship with Barrett Jones a little bit. Were you concerned at all that he would be able to finish the Georgia game and how important is it to have him out there?

"As far as us bickering, Coach Nuss can tell you we go at it in practice, but I usually win that battle just because I tell him, listen, I'm the quarterback, you're in my huddle, so let's hush on this one.

"No, we go back and forth. Me and Barrett have been really good friends for a long time, ever since I came here in '09. He's kind of taken me under his wing and just taught me the ropes and everything. He's helped me tremendously. I can't say enough about him. I really do love him. He's a great friend to have.

"Protection wise, we go back and forth on it, and we'll both probably say that we've saved each other a couple times. But I think that's the relationship the quarterback and center need to have. Actually I did not get to answer the last part, I did not know that he was even hurt during the Georgia game, so that should let you know how he played. But I'm not concerned at all about him playing this weekend."

Talk about T.J. Yeldon and his emergence as a true freshman.

"I think first off, a lot of people don't realize T.J. is a good kid off the field, and I think that's big to have while you're playing every Saturday, to have him in the huddle. You don't want just a good athlete out there, you want a person that you can always count on and trust to do the right thing. And he's one of those freshmen that come in and already have the right head on their shoulders and knows what it takes to win, and he's great to have in the huddle. He's a freakish player. I know that." Talk about Manti Te'o and the challenge you have in planning for him and in what way or ways is he the most dangerous. "He's always around the ball. He's a great player, makes a lot of plays for his defense, and is the heart and soul for them. He's going to be a big key to the game, like always." What attracted you as a youngster to Miami, and just where were they and how close was it in terms of where you chose to go? "What probably attracted me the most is, just like whenever you're a little kid, the team that's winning the most is probably your favorite. No, they had one of my favorite players of all time, Ken Dorsey, and they had Willis McGahee, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow, all those guys. I was always just a big fan growing up.

"They ended up being in my top three with Alabama and Oklahoma right before I decided." How did you feel about some of your guys hijacking your Twitter account last night?

"(Laughing) Well, that's the one and only Kenny Bell. Me and him are always great friends, and we've always been ever since we came in together. But yeah, he likes to play jokes on me. We go back and forth, but yeah, he got me last night."

On freshman Amari Cooper, did you see this coming from him when he came in?

"Like I said, he's one of those freakish freshman that you get in every once in a while in a class. You can't say enough about Coop. He's been an outstanding player for us this year. He's helped our offense grow a lot in the passing game, and being able to, I guess, spread the ball out all the way across the field. He's helped us tremendously." When you look at the tape of Notre Dame's defense, how does it compare to the top defenses in the SEC? "I would say the same thing. They do a really good job of trying to confuse you as an offense, jumping from one thing to another. Like I said earlier, we're going to have to be on our "A" game."

Talk about the adversity that you faced after the serious WaveRunner accident you experienced as a young boy.

"I mean, it's all pretty crazy. I'm a big believer in the Man above, God has a plan for you, and everything happens for a reason. I felt like it was my second chance at life.

"I think me and my mom kind of promised each other since I got that second chance that I'd take full advantage of it, and try to make all my dreams come true that are possible. It's kind of just wake up every day and kind of think about that and let the day play out." What's with the shoe fetish, and how many pairs did you bring to Miami? "Well, I brought a whole bagful. I've got a lot of shoes. I've always been that way ever since I was little. I figure you can wear the same outfit and change the shoes and it looks like a totally different outfit. You know, I'm just big into shoes. Me and Kenny Bell kind of go back and forth and kind of compete and see how many each of us have. But yeah, I definitely brought a lot." What do you do that gets under Barrett Jones' skin so badly? And does he ever get under your skin?

"You know, Barrett is such a smart guy. He talks so much sometimes, so that's probably what gets under my skin is I've got to tell him to be quiet sometimes in the huddle.

"But probably what gets under his skin so much is when I prove him wrong. He hates to be wrong, so I always love it when I do that."

Does it happen often?

"It does. Every practice." Talk about your relationship with Starla Chapman, and how does she maybe help you keep things in perspective, and your own accident as a child, how much did that make you want to get more involved?

"I always loved giving back. I think my mom has done a tremendous job of raising me in that aspect of life. She's always taught me to kind of give back to people a little less fortunate. I've been blessed enough to be in a position to kind of touch people's lives, inspire them in certain ways, and she was a blessing to me. Just kind of met her on that Christmas Eve, that day at USA Women's and Children's Hospital, and our relationship has taken off from there. "Her family named me her godfather a couple months after that, and I still wear her bracelet today. I never take it off. I'm always thinking about her. She's a special girl." How do you fit the perception of the Alabama quarterback being a game manager? "I think game manager can be so many different things, but I feel like my coaching staff and my teammates know what I do. That's all that matters to me."

What is the job description of the Alabama quarterback to you through the years?

"I mean, are you talking about like through the history of Alabama?"

The whole thing, being Alabama quarterback.

"I mean, it's a tremendous honor, first off, because you know, of all the legends that have played this position at this university. So to follow in their footsteps is definitely a great honor, and I'm just trying to keep it rolling." Talk about what you've seen from the back end (secondary) of Notre Dame's defense.

"I think they do a really good job of disguising certain coverages and try to confuse you in the later part of the play before the snap. They deserve a lot of credit, too. I know their guys up front get talked about a lot, but trust me, they make plays back there. It's not just the guys up front that have them labeled the No. 1 defense in the nation."






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Keywords: AJ McCarron ,Alabama, BCS National Championship ,Miami,Doug Nussmeier, Notre Dame ,

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - Saks’ Collins headed to Florida


Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - Barons top Biscuits, 5-3


Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - Alabama baseball loses to Georgia, 8-4


Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - Samford Baseball gets big win over Oklahoma


Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - UAB Baseball gets big 1-0 win over Southern Miss


Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - Auburn Baseball loses to #3 Florida, 6-0


Friday, May 11, 2012 - Top-seed Alabama opens SEC Tourney with a win


Friday, May 11, 2012 - Auburn Softball loses SEC Tourney opener


Friday, May 11, 2012 - UAB Softball win C-USA Tourney opener


Thursday, May 10, 2012 - Mississippi St. coach suspended 1 game


Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - Eric McClure released from Alabama hospital


Monday, May 7, 2012 - Keselowski gets push from Busch to win Talladega


Monday, May 7, 2012 - Patton, Wilson nab state titles for Anniston


Sunday, May 6, 2012 - Smith's walk-off wouble in the ninth lifts Alabama to win over Bulldogs


Sunday, May 6, 2012 - Auburn plays Tennessee In first round Of SEC softball tournament


Sunday, May 6, 2012 - NASCAR's McClure stable, alert after accident


Sunday, May 6, 2012 - Logano beats Busch at finish of nationwide race


Sunday, May 6, 2012 - McReynolds rides last-lap pass to ARCA win


Saturday, May 5, 2012 - Ryan makes NASCAR a family affair for Truexs at Talladega


Saturday, May 5, 2012 - Bowyer to drive Alabama National Championship Toyota


Saturday, May 5, 2012 - Police: Junior Seau found dead at California home


Saturday, May 5, 2012 - Dega Driver To Honor Victims of April 27th Tornadoes


Saturday, May 5, 2012 - Jones' HR in 11th lifts Braves past Phils 15-13


Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Alabama Softball Opens Series with Convincing 13-6 Win


Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Seven-Run Eighth Sends Auburn To 12-5 Win Over Tennessee


Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Alabama Baseball Drops Heartbearker to No. 4 Gamecocks


Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Ravens select LB Upshaw with 35th overall pick


Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Auburn's Barbee dismisses 2 players, suspends 3rd


Sunday, April 29, 2012 - Alabama Quarterback Phillip Sims to Transfer


Friday, April 27, 2012 - Alabama dominates from national signing day to NFL draft day


Friday, April 27, 2012 - Browns select RB Trent Richardson


Friday, April 27, 2012 - Nick Saban to attend Alabama's Gymnastics Championship Celebration


Friday, April 27, 2012 - Patriots trade up to get Alabama LB Hightower


Friday, April 27, 2012 - Bengals take CB Dre Kirkpatrick with 17th pick


Friday, April 27, 2012 - Bucs trade down, select S Mark Barron in NFL draft


Saturday, April 21, 2012 - Alabama repeats as NCAA gymnastics champ, captures sixth title overall


Saturday, April 21, 2012 - Bama's Jackie Traina sees her 28-game win streak come to an end


Thursday, April 19, 2012 - Samford Baseball beat UAB, 11-0


Thursday, April 19, 2012 - Auburn Baseball Alabama A&M, 7-1


Thursday, April 19, 2012 - Alabama Baseball splits with Miss Valley


Thursday, April 19, 2012 - Summitt steps aside, Warlick new Tennessee coach


Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - JSU trustees approve tennis, softball venue upgrades


Sunday, April 15, 2012 - Fans gather for Alabama A-Day game


Saturday, April 14, 2012 - 'It's great to be home at Auburn!': Cam Newton, Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan unveil Heisman statues


Friday, April 13, 2012 - Tide's Sunseri adapting without coach/dad, Barron


Friday, April 13, 2012 - AD says Petrino's affair was 'several months' long


Friday, April 13, 2012 - Ex-Auburn player convicted of first-degree robbery


Friday, April 13, 2012 - Auburn Holds Last Practice Before A-Day


Friday, April 13, 2012 - President to honor Alabama Crimson Tide national championship team


Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - Barons score three in eighth, top Stars 4-2


Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - Bobby Petrino releases statement


Friday, April 6, 2012 - Hankerson and Mitchell to Leave UA Basketball Program


Friday, April 6, 2012 - Ark coach Petrino won't be cited for crash


Friday, April 6, 2012 - Auburn's Jawara White no longer playing football


Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - UAB football wraps up fourth spring practice


Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - Alabama football players return to practice


Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - Samford football players prepare for scrimmage


Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - Monday's Auburn Football Practice Report


Monday, April 2, 2012 - Alabama Baseball loses at Tennessee


Monday, April 2, 2012 - Sunday sweep makes Alabama Softball 35-1


Monday, April 2, 2012 - Auburn Softball loses to Ole Miss, 6-2


Sunday, April 1, 2012 - Honda Indy Grand Prix draws 90,000 to Birmingham


Saturday, March 31, 2012 - Race Weekend At Barber Motorsports Park


Friday, March 30, 2012 - A new Earnhardt at Barber


Thursday, March 29, 2012 - Alabama football team completes 7th practice


Thursday, March 29, 2012 - Blazers begin Garrick McGee era as spring practice begins


Thursday, March 29, 2012 - Samford Bulldogs continue spring football practice


Thursday, March 29, 2012 - Paralyzed wrestler returns to school


Thursday, March 29, 2012 - UA: Former Tide players take part in NFL pro day in Tuscaloosa


Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - UAB Baseball beats Alabama 1-0 in 12 innings


Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Alabama Softball sweeps Auburn


Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Troy Baseball beats JSU, 9-1


Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 9th inning Samford slam stuns #24 Auburn, 8-5


Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Birmingham-Southern Baseball loses at Emory


Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Bama nabs #1 seed in NCAA gymnastics regionals


Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Auburn nabs #3 seed as Tigers host NCAA gymnastics regional


Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Alabama extends Saban's deal, boosts pay


Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - Saban won't get a high school named after him


Saturday, March 24, 2012 - Alabama Continues Spring Work


Saturday, March 24, 2012 - Auburn Spring Practice Report: Day 2


Saturday, March 24, 2012 - Alabama Gymnastics Takes Second at the 2012 SEC Championships


Saturday, March 24, 2012 - Western Washington beats Montevallo 72-65 for Division II title


Friday, March 23, 2012 - Montevallo beats Bellarmine 79-72 in Div-II semi


Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - Oxford edges Pell City 2-1 in 10 innings


Saturday, March 17, 2012 - Samford Bulldogs continue spring football practice


Saturday, March 17, 2012 - Former Auburn QB Jason Campbell signs with Chicago Bears


Saturday, March 17, 2012 - Athletic director speaks after firing UAB coach Mike Davis


Saturday, March 17, 2012 - Mike Davis fired from UAB basketball coach position


Thursday, March 15, 2012 - Alabama Baseball wins over Samford, 6-5


Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - Samford fires head basketball coach Jimmy Tillette


Sunday, March 11, 2012 - UAB women move into Conference USA tournament semi-finals


Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - Auburn beats Alabama in Capital City Classic


Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - Auburn will unveil Heisman statues April 14


Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Auburn baseball loses to Purdue 9-8


Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Alabama baseball loses at Tulane 9-7


Saturday, March 3, 2012 - UAB women lose to UTEP, grab #4 seed in conference tournament


Saturday, March 3, 2012 - JSU men bow out in the OVC basketball tournament


Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - Jacksonville heads to state championship after win over Midfield


Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - Jacksonville takes winning mentality into state semifinals


Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - Auburn’s “Mr. Penny” suffering from gunshot wound


Saturday, February 25, 2012 - Anniston falls in regional tourney for 3rd straight year


Saturday, February 25, 2012 - Strong 2nd half sends Jacksonville to final after defeating Springville


Saturday, February 25, 2012 - Nine-win Munford Lions getting their shot in postseason


Thursday, February 23, 2012 - Bart Starr to serve as Grand Marshall for Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama


Thursday, February 23, 2012 - Piedmont comes up just short against Madison Academy


Thursday, February 23, 2012 - OVC 2012-13 schedule has Murray, Peay visiting Jacksonville State


Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Bama's Mitchell suspended for rest of the season


Monday, February 20, 2012 - Auburn Swimming Wins 16th Consecutive SEC Championship


Monday, February 20, 2012 - Auburn Drops Game Two Of Doubleheader, 4-3


Monday, February 20, 2012 - Auburn Softball No-Hits Virginia Tech In 1-0 Win And Beats No. 23 Georgia Tech


Monday, February 20, 2012 - Auburn women's hoops falls to LSU, 57-41


Monday, February 20, 2012 - UA baseball falls to Florida Atlantic, 9-4


Sunday, February 19, 2012 - End of Vols winning streak energizes Crimson Tide


Sunday, February 19, 2012 - Piedmont’s Dent wins third state title; Wellborn’s Carroll falls short


Sunday, February 19, 2012 - Golden Eagles finish season with last-second loss to Munford


Sunday, February 19, 2012 - Ranburne's Smith preps for finals


Friday, February 17, 2012 - Anniston routs Munford to reach regional, Bullock wants improvement


Thursday, February 16, 2012 - Montevallo downs Columbus State 64-60


Thursday, February 16, 2012 - Jacksonville trying to break trend after reaching goal


Thursday, February 16, 2012 - Junior Jordan Simpson looks primed to claim third prep wrestling title as No. 5 Oxford heads to finals


Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - No. 14 Florida beats Alabama 61-52


Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - Tennessee State beats Jacksonville State 69-64, OT


Sunday, February 12, 2012 - Donoho rattles Lady Cardinals early, wins area title


Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Green, Steele, and Releford suspended from UA men’s basketball team


Saturday, February 11, 2012 - UAB softball wins opener


Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Samford softball wins opener


Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Alabama softball wins season opener 8-0 over Memphis


Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Piedmont senior Strott leads Bulldogs to area title game


Saturday, February 11, 2012 - Toughness Auburn's theme headed into rematch with Ole Miss


Friday, February 10, 2012 - Alabama women grab first SEC win of the season


Friday, February 10, 2012 - Auburn women lose to Florida, 70-56


Friday, February 10, 2012 - Saks earns 64-40 victory in semifinals


Thursday, February 9, 2012 - Daniel, Strain headed toward promising rematch


Thursday, February 9, 2012 - Wellborn graduate makes big leagues


Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - Tide does fine without Mitchell


Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - Two sport athlete signed by JSU


Sunday, February 5, 2012 - Alabama Gets Late Surge To Slip By Ole Miss In OT


Friday, February 3, 2012 - Top Ranked Illinois Player Signs With Auburn


Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - Oxford's Alexander signs with LSU


Sunday, January 29, 2012 - Tide Surges In Second Half To Down Hogs, End Slump


Sunday, January 29, 2012 - Auburn On Recruiting Trail


Sunday, January 29, 2012 - Jacksonville Wins,Moves Up In OVC


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