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2012 BCS Champ. Position Breakdown - QBs
Alabama QB AJ McCarron
Alabama QB AJ McCarron
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 5, 2012


As a primer, check out the position-by-position breakdown of the 2012 BCS Championship, starting with AJ McCarron and the quarterbacks.

2012 BCS Champ. Breakdown

Alabama vs. LSU - QBs

- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma   
- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. Texas
- CFN 2011 BCS Championship Breakdown - Auburn vs. Oregon|

CFN 2012 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches
 
Alabama: Greg McElroy was the consummate leader, game-manager, and winner who was never really considered the biggest piece of the national championship puzzle, but was still a factor in the success in 2009 and 2010, keeping the mistakes to a minimum and the offense moving. As good as he was, coming into the 2011 season, Alabama upgraded the talent level.

McElroy was good, but Phillip Sims and AJ McCarron were more talented prospects who were expected to take the position to another level, but that’s not what the team needed. Sims has as much pure talent as Alabama has had in years, but it was McCarron who stepped up and took over the job and never let it go.

The 6-4, 205-pound McCarron has a big arm and good size, and he got bigger and stronger in the offseason to be ready for the season. The Elite 11 Quarterback camper has a great release, a little bit of mobility, and all the tools to be a terrific dropback passer who can spread the ball all over the field, but he didn’t exactly wing the ball around completing 67% of his passes for 2,400 yards and 16 touchdowns with five picks and two rushing scores.

McCarron had a better game than it might seem in the first game against LSU – completing 16-of-28 passes for 199 yards with a pick – but like everyone does against the Tiger D, he struggled on third downs and didn’t come up with the one big play to turn the tide of the game. But that’s not really his role. He might have the talent and the upside to do a lot more, but his job is to not turn the ball over – which he didn’t do over the final two games of the year throwing six TD passes and no picks against Georgia Southern and Auburn – hand it off, and make all the right decisions. Throwing the ball away isn’t a negative with a defense that will get him the ball back a few plays later.

LSU: Considering LSU is 105th in the nation in passing offense, the quarterback play has been better than it might appear.

The program has had some elite talents working under center over the years – yes, JaMarcus Russell was an elite talent, as was Ryan Perrilloux and, as it turns out, Matt Flynn – but Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee aren’t two of them.

Zach Mettenberger might be the most talented quarterback on the roster, but Jefferson has turned into the exact playmaker and leader the team needed to get through the finishing kick, and Lee is a veteran who might have one big moment left in his career.

Lee might have been the SEC Player of the Midseason after throwing 13 touchdown passes and just one pick, but he threw two interceptions against Alabama, completed 3-of-7 passes for 24 yards, and that was it. He saw a little bit of garbage time the rest of the way, but it was Jefferson’s offense from then on.

The 6-5, 225-pound Jefferson overcame his offseason bar fight controversy to grow into the starting job again. He’ll never be a bomber, but he throws a nice deep ball and he’s able to hit the open receiver and not make mistakes, finishing the year with six touchdown passes and just one interception. Beyond the passing skills, he’s a pure baller, running when needed, making the key third down pass when he has to, and overall, providing the veteran steadiness the offense needs. He never, ever panics.

ADVANTAGE: LSU. McCarron will probably have the better passing stats, but the idea might be that he has to do more and press more for the Alabama offense to do more and be more effective than it was in the first matchup. That’s a problem. LSU’s secondary feasts off mistakes, and while McCarron has a year under his belt, he’s not good enough for Alabama to win the national title because of him. Jefferson’s value goes beyond the numbers, making the key throws here and there to do just enough to be exactly what LSU’s offense needs. He’ll be unflappable, and don’t be shocked if Lee makes an appearance for a few plays here and there as a curveball for the passing game.

CFN 2012 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches