Alabama Football: Veterans Who Need to Step Up Their Game

Benjamin J. Block@BenjaminBlock21Correspondent IISeptember 29, 2012

Alabama Football: Veterans Who Need to Step Up Their Game

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    Despite No. 1-ranked Alabama's 4-0 start this season, there are a few veterans on this team who need to step up their game another notch.

    Even though all four games have been blowouts, some veterans will have to do a little more in order to avoid complacency.

    With the toughest part of Alabama's schedule ahead of them, let's take a look at which members of the Crimson Tide need to dig a little deeper. 

A.J. McCarron

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    A.J. McCarron is the leader of the Crimson Tide, therefore, he always needs to step it up.

    A large part of being a star quarterback in the SEC is what have you done for me lately.

    McCarron has done a lot. He's thrown 10 touchdowns without a pick, amassing 819 total yards in the air so far.

    The one problem is that McCarron has been sacked nine times, and it looks like he'll surpass the 13 sacks he endured from last season.

    While some sacks are the responsibility of the offensive line, his decisions in the pocket don't seem to be quite as sharp as they were in 2011.

    If he wants to be in the conversation of Heisman, he's going to have to put the pedal to the medal the rest of the way. 

Michael Williams

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    Senior tight end Michael Williams hopefully can dig a little deeper for the Crimson Tide.

    He is having a good season so far with seven receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown, but he needs to keep it going and show that his junior season wasn't just a flash in the pan.

    He had 16 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns last year, and he can set a great example for the rest of the guys by surpassing those numbers this season.

    He's a huge target for McCarron, and if he really applies himself, no defensive back or linebacker can cover him.

    It would be great for Alabama fans to see Williams dig in his heels and have a memorable senior season.

Jeremy Shelley

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    Why does Jeremy Shelley need to step it up?

    Simply because he is a senior and a major part of Alabama's offense.

    It's not like he's not producing, he is. Shelley is 100 percent on field goals and on extra points made.

    With that said, he hasn't been tested yet this year. His longest field goal so far is only 30 yards, and sooner or later, he's going to have to show off that leg strength.

    Shelley can't afford to get complacent; he needs to continue show his reliability for pouring in points, especially in clutch moments when his number is called.

Dee Milliner

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    Dee Milliner is playing pretty well for the Crimson Tide this season, but as a junior for Nick Saban, he hasn't reached his full potential yet.

    In four games, Milliner has recorded five solo tackles, five assisted tackles and one interception.

    As a veteran leader of Alabama's defense, Milliner needs to continue to step it up as Alabama embarks on the meat-and-potatoes part of their schedule.

    Milliner is approaching Saturday's game against Ole Miss by studying the film from the 2008 game where the Rebels upset Tim Tebow's Florida team.

    Via Fox Sports:

    ''We watch that during our workouts,'' Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner said. ''They'll have it playing. Then we'll come in in certain groups and watch it. We're trying to not let it be us that same way that happened to them. We're not trying to make it have a loss and then we have to give a big speech after it because we lost the game.''

    Milliner is saying all the right things; now he needs to step up and show accountability on defense.