McCarron did just enough to get him the shots.
Fiery and with a touch of swagger, he also proved he was all grown up.
That kid that challenged a Florida defensive lineman after a late hit early this season? Gone.
Coach Nick Saban knocked that from his system with a spicy sideline tirade.
“I’m sure pretty much most of the country saw coach rip me for showing too much emotion,” McCarron said.
Here, Saban offers a much more gentle correction. “I just didn’t want to have to pull that big guy you’re ready to get into it with off of you,” the coach cracked.
Saban told him then to check his emotions at the gate. He changed his mind and said let them loose after the first meeting, when he passed for 199 yards and was intercepted once.
McCarron did the proper thing, thanking everyone from Saban to his offensive line to the mostly ignored scout-team defenders whose sole job was preparing the guys who play for the game.
McCarron didn’t take many shots downfield; that’s risky business against All-America cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu. He did connect with seven receivers.
He and Smelley connected seven times for mostly small chunks, other than the 15-yarder to open things up. Darius Hanks, a strong downfield blocker, finished his Tide career with five receptions and 58 yards. Kevin Norwood nearly matched his 90 receiving yards for the season, getting 78.
McCarron was just managing the show.
“I don’t think I did anything special, really,” he said. “I mean, I always bust my butt in the film room. I mean, it helps when you got a little longer, you can study them a lot more.
“But I bust my butt in there, and I know everything they want to do. Certain downs and distances. But that goes back to our coaching staff. We have the best coaching staff in the country.”
He said offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, who’s taking over the Colorado State program, gave him sound advice on a New Orleans bus ride.
” `You don’t have to win the game,’ ” he said McElwain told him, ” `just go play your game.’ “View Entire Story
By Elaine Donnelly
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