Alabama Football: Why A.J. McCarron Is Poised for Breakout Season

Dan ChodosContributor IIAugust 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Louisiana State University Tigers during the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

No quarterback has broken the 3,000-yard mark in Alabama Football history.

However, with a supremely talented offense around him and a coach recommitted to explosive plays behind him, Tide QB A.J. McCarron will change that.

Alabama’s identity over the last few years has been a team that runs the ball and plays defense. And when you’ve been fortunate enough to have backs like Heisman winner Mark Ingram to hand off to over that span it’s easy to see why.

But head coach Nick Saban has presided over some high-octane offenses in the past, especially during his days at LSU and Michigan State. And recent quotes would suggest that he intends to call some more big plays this year. TideNation’s Alex Scarborough reported via that Saban intends on focusing more on, “Spreading people out, putting good skill players in space with the ball."

He has good reason to do so. As reported via, the four starters returning to McCarron’s offensive line average 6-foot-4 and 315 lbs. Needless to say, he will have time to find his receivers if they can get open.

And McCarron believes they can. As he was quoted by Scarborough: “We have a really good group of receivers. All the guys can run. All the guys can make plays. I'm definitely excited to get out there and see what we've got Sept. 1.”

McCarron may not have been overly prolific last year, but he was efficient. He completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 8.03 yards per attempt and threw only five interceptions.  For the Tide offense to be as dynamic as Saban hopes, its quarterback will have to continue that efficiency, and I believe he will.

Last year the junior threw for 2,634 yards and 16 touchdowns in an offense that was predicated around the run. With more freedom to air it out, and with one more year of experience under his belt, McCarron will improve significantly on those numbers.