McCarron's lost chance
TUSCALOOSA, Nov 11, 2012 (Menafn - The Decatur Daily - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --While an interception on the last offensive play doomed Alabama in its 29-24 loss to Texas A&M, Tide quarterback AJ McCarron focused on the previous play.
As the Crimson Tide faced third-and-goal at the Texas A&M 5, McCarron dropped back to pass but ended up scrambling. He got tripped up as he headed toward the end zone, and the Aggies' Dustin Harris hit him head on and dropped him at the 2-yard line.
"I thought I was going to score there," McCarron said. "If that guy hadn't tripped me up, I think I would have."
On the next play, Alabama ran a quick out pass to the right side of the line, which Texas A&M's Deshazor Everett intercepted.
"That is a play that we worked on," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "It was a pick play. They were in man-to-man. The guy that had the first guy is the guy who took the guy in the flats. They kind of pushed it off. We didn't execute the pick well enough and didn't get the play executed."
Maybe Alabama should've run the ball? Saban said if the Tide had run, he would be fielding questions about why he didn't pass.
When Tide running back Eddie Lacy, who had a team-high 92 yards on 16 carries, was asked if he wished a running play had been called, he said, "I'm pretty sure anybody who had the ball would wish that. It is what it is."
Alabama has scored 104 points in first quarters this year, 132 in the second and 97 in the fourth. But in the third, the Tide has only 37, including three Saturday.
"We have discussed it, talked about it, talked about it before this game," Saban said. "I think that we need to always have something that is a little bit different that we can go to.
"People are going to make adjustments at halftime to what you have been doing. It was really important that they got the stops that they got, because we got a couple of stops on defense to start the second half and really lost the momentum of the game when we never moved the ball offensively. That's something that we need to work on and improve and there is no reason for us not to be able to execute better when we come out in the third quarter."
Tough stretch of games
Alabama entered Saturday having come off an emotional 21-17 win over LSU, and Saban said his team might have struggled to return to work mentally. In the past four weeks, Alabama has played rival Tennessee and three ranked teams -- Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M.
"I think the players refocused and really tried and it seemed like early in the week we were pretty good, but later in the week, emotionally -- I'm not really talking about physically -- we just couldn't seem to get the kind of mental energy and intensity that we needed to play against this kind of team," he said. "We have had a pretty tough stretch here, and that's no excuse but, Mississippi State, LSU, and this game -- and playing at Tennessee, which is a big game for us emotionally."
Preparing for Manziel
Alabama worked all week to prepare for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, but Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley said there's nothing like seeing him in person, especially his ability to scramble.
"I didn't know how shifty he was," Mosley said. "He's got good vision."
Respect for Saban
NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman John Hannah played for Bear Bryant at Alabama and said nobody could top his old coach at most anything to do with football.
But Hannah said current Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban does have one edge.
"One thing Saban does better than Coach Bryant is recruit," Hannah said. "I've never seen a stable full of recruits like he gets. I don't see how he does it. I've never seen anything like it."
Hannah attended Saturday's game as part of Alabama honoring all of its first-team All-Americans. The group had a reception before the game in the Crimson Tide's A-Day suites.
Hannah also has great respect for Alabama center Barrett Jones. When Hannah played at Alabama during 1969-72, he spent two years at tackle and two at guard, which is the position where he became an All-Pro for the New England Patriots. But Jones has played tackle, guard and center.
"It's unbelievable," said Hannah, who lives in Priceville. "In today's NFL game with limited number of players, that could make him valuable. I don't see how he does it.
"All the angles are different at each position. You block one way at tackle, another way at guard and a different way at center. And he does it all well."
That's a heady compliment coming from Hannah. During his career with New England, which lasted from 1973-85, Sports Illustrated published a cover story proclaiming Hannah as the game's greatest offensive lineman.
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