Notre Dame Opponent Player Preview: Quarterback A.J. McCarron


November 3, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron (10) against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. McCarron has  lead the Crimson Tide to a National Title. He is looking to lead them to another on January 7th of 2013. McCarron is a Quarterback with great potential. He has already committed to returning to Alabama in 2013. He may be a first round pick in 2014 because he has many of the tools that scouts look for in a franchise Quarterback.

A.J. McCarron is one of the most efficient Quarterbacks in the nation with a 173.07 rating. This total ranks his 1st in the country for Quarterback efficiency. However, this statistic might be misleading. The 6’4″ 210 lbs. Quarterback from Mobile, Alabama has performed excellent against teams not ranked in the AP Top 25.

Against teams outside the Top 25, McCarron is completing 72.1% of his passes. In these games, he has tossed 21 touchdowns with no interceptions. But, in his games against teams in the AP Top 25, McCarron has not been as strong. This is to be expected some what. However, the drop off is quite significant. McCarron is only completing 57.3% while passing for 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. McCarron falls to 17th in passing efficiency.

A.J. McCarron has excellent arm strength. Many of his throws this season have travelled 50 yards or further. McCarron can make almost every throw. He has good mechanics and solid pocket presence. The biggest question surrounding McCarron is his composure. In the game against LSU, McCarron was 14 of 27 for 165 yards. He was virtually absent for most of the game. McCarron was seen as a hero for his “game winning” drive but the throw was a simple screen play. It was properly executed by Alabama’s Linemen and Freshman Running Back T.J. Yeldon.

A.J. McCarron is a solid Quarterback who can beat any team in the nation. The key to defeating McCarron is pressuring him and getting him off schedule. LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia all forced McCarron into mistakes. Notre Dame’s Defensive Line, including Prince Shembo and Stephon Tuitt, can make this happen. McCarron is an excellent Quarterback when he is able to set his feet and make plays. But, when he is pressured, he is less successful. He is athletic but does not have enough athleticism to get away from the athletes on Notre Dame’s front.