Is there a little bit of tension brewing between Nick Saban and his most successful college quarterback?
During a radio interview Friday night, AJ McCarron lauded Alabama’s leadership on defense. Offensively, though, the current Cincinnati Bengal questioned from where the leadership was coming.
“But they have to find that leader on offense, I don’t know if that’s Austin Shepherd or, with Ryan [Kelly] being out [with an injury], somebody needs to establish that,” McCarron said, before singling out his replacement. “Blake [Sims] needs to step up and do it. It’s going to be a tough road.”
A day later, Saban took part in the SEC coaches teleconference and, as expected, the head coach was asked about McCarron’s comments. Not surprisingly, Saban disagreed.
“I don’t know how AJ would really know, but I don’t necessarily see that as the case,” Saban said, pretty much nailing the situation very succinctly with the first part of his sentence. The coach, though, went on to expound on the leadership “issue” brought up by his former player.
“I think that leadership is something that we have several guys that have played a lot of football around here that do a good job. I think sometimes people look at the quarterback position as the guy that has to be the leader and I think sometimes when you have a new quarterback and that guy is really concerned about what he is supposed to do, maybe he doesn’t look to be perceived as the guy that’s affecting other people.
“But actually, I think Blake does a pretty job of (being) very well-liked by his teammates. He’s a very positive, high-energy guy that has shown leadership. I don’t think we played real well last week for whatever reasons, I don’t know that that’s all leadership. I’m sorta responsible for all that as coaches and players to make sure we’re ready to play our best against good teams in tough environments on the road.”
During the Tuesday night interview, McCarron also addressed first-year Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and the focus on wide receiver Amari Cooper, wondering if “that’s Lane doing that or if coach Saban is kind of putting the handcuffs on Lane like I’ve known Coach to do in the past on his offensive coordinator and we’re going to be very bland and run this play and do this and we’ll throw it on third down if we have to.” Saban did not address that aspect of McCarron’s interview.
Because of the imbroglio he stirred up, McCarron will be back on the radio Wednesday night commenting on his previous comments.
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.