THE OTHER QB: AJ McCarron is no Johnny Football, but Alabama fans aren’t complaining. The senior has two national championship rings and is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. One of his few mistakes last season was an interception near A&M’s goal line late in the fourth quarter. The best-laid plans for Alabama probably don’t involve getting into a high-scoring game with A&M’s super charged, up-tempo offense. But if it goes that route, McCarron and the Tide’s myriad playmakers should be up to the task.
JOHNNY CAM: Yes, CBS will have a camera on Manziel all day. Coach Kevin Sumlin was not pleased. And he doesn’t want Johnny Football to play with any less passion.
“The intensity and emotion that he plays with is part of his game,” Sumlin said. “I don’t think that anybody around college football that watches him play denies that. Our job is to channel that type of emotion into a positive way of doing things.”
SO, HOW DO YOU STOP MANZIEL?: Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart are about as good it gets when it comes to mixing defensive fronts and coverages, but Manziel is a game-plan wrecker. And A&M is loaded with talented tailbacks and receivers, so it’s not like he’s doing it on his own.
“I think that he’s going to make some plays,” Saban said. “And I think athletically he extends a lot of plays but he extends a lot of plays to pass. It’s not like he’s just a runner that only extends the play scrambling and takes off running. You’re not going to make him a pocket passer, because if someone is not open, he’s not going to throw them the ball.”
Or as Alabama safety HaHa Clinton-Dix described Manziel: “He’s one of a kind, if you ask me.”