What Injured AJ McCarron Did in 2012 Should Excite Alabama Fans for 2013


Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron revealed the details of an injury that most fans knew existed. In an interview with ESPN.com, McCarron announced the “back contusion” he suffered against Mississippi State actually involved three ribs.

As with his 2011 shoulder injury, many fans did not know the specifics. People just knew he had a bothersome injury.

McCarron told ESPN.com three of his ribs kept popping in and out of place. The thought pains me to think about just sitting at my desk, much less trying to throw a football or getting sacked six times or rushing 18 times for 55 yards (both stats come from the six games following the injury).

The excitement of what McCarron might do under second year offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier in 2013 has plenty of Alabama fans, me included, looking forward to what the offense may do.  This excitement should rise now after knowing what McCarron did with these injured ribs.  Look below at what he did in the six games following his injury.

Fans remember the trip to Baton Rouge and the emotional McCarron after completing the comeback. His stats were not very impressive, though. He threw the ball for 165 yards and a touchdown. Because of Alabama’s late deficit, he threw the ball 27 times and completed it 14 times.

In the LSU game, fans and media members saw something wrong with McCarron. The discussion varied about the possible reasons. Now, we know why he did not make the throw he made earlier in the season.

More yards and pass attempts were the theme the following week in Alabama’s only loss of the season.  Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M put Alabama in a 20-0 hole. To many Alabama fans’ displeasure, Nussmeier and Coach Nick Saban called on McCarron to throw the ball 34 times. While completing 62 percent of his passes, McCarron threw his first two interceptions of the season. The second one came on the goal line in a play that would have given Alabama the lead late in the fourth quarter.

His third game following the injury did not last long. He completed all six of his passes against Western Carolina while totaling 133 yards and a touchdown. Looking back now, anyone wondering why McCarron did not play long in this game now has their answer.

The 2012 Iron Bowl included a stellar performance by McCarron. Part of his stats came from pathetic tackling by the Auburn secondary (see Amari Cooper’s touchdown after bouncing off three defenders). In the game, he completed 15 of his 21 passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

Against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, McCarron threw only 21 times because TJ Yeldon and Eddie Lacy ran for over 300 yards.  His 13 completions totaled 162 yards and a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper that sent Alabama to Miami for the national championship.

McCarron told ESPN.com he could not really throw during those weeks of practice until closer to the national championship game preparation.

Obviously, the five-week delay allowed McCarron to heal and recover. His stats and performance against the Irish show it, too. He threw four touchdowns on 20 completions and 264 yards.

In the six games following his injury against Mississippi State, McCarron threw for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Alabama fans must ask: if he did put up those stats with three injured ribs, how good can the 2013 offense be with McCarron at 100% with a healthy Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White, Kevin Norwood, Kenny Bell, Chris Black, Christion Jones?