BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
I've heard if from dozens of Alabama fans over the last few days. "AJ McCarron needs to shut his mouth" they say. What do I say a few days after the former Bama quarterback's spicy comments about his former team? I say we need more of him. We don't need more of "AJ & K-Webb", we don't need more of AJ making the media the bad guys in all that is wrong with the world. What we do need is more refreshing commentary from a young man who had an inside view of one of the top college football programs in America.
In case you missed it, the Bengals' rookie appeared on Tide 99.1 FM a few days back to offer his input into his former team. The two instances that resulted in McCarron getting heat from the Bama nation? McCarron said the current UA offense lacks a true leader. He also wondered aloud if Nick Saban may be putting the clamps on OC Lane Kiffin.
Alabama lacks "true leaders like we had last year" according to McCarron. "Guys that, when things go bad, say, 'Hey, let's calm everybody down, pick it back up and go back to work and get back on the right track. I feel like when things go bad, this team struggles a little with bouncing back and making good plays."
McCarron backtracked Wednesday night in a second appearance on Tide 99.1 FM, saying, "What I meant, and I gave an example right after I said that, which was a vocal leader example. That's what I should have said, vocal leader. I mentioned last night that they have plenty of leaders on this team. I named numerous ones last night: Ryan Kelly, I knew he was one of them. I asked with him being out, 'Who was going to be that vocal guy that steps up now?' And I asked, 'Is that Blake Sims. Does he need to step up into that role?' That's not a negative in any way."
And McCarron's second opinion that soon saw him in hot water with Bama fans? Horror of horrors- he criticized Nick Saban's habit of throwing one too many times to Amari Cooper rather than spreading the wealth.: "I don't know if that's Lane doing that, or if Coach Saban has kind of put the handcuffs on Lane -- like I've known Coach to do in the past on his offensive coordinator."
My take? At long last, a former Crimson Tide player with a championship ring (or three) offering up candid, honest commentary about a university and a team that is near and dear to his heart. When was the last time a former UA hero spoke openly and honestly about his alma mater? Think about it: McCarron says the offense needs more leaders and the "o" needs to be more versatile and he gets blasted?
In many ways the Alabama football program is closed and guarded. We don't hear much from Nick Saban's assistants, the Tide players are for the most part guarded in their answers to the media (and they should be). The most entertaining person in the room? Nick Saban himself, who often opens up to the media with entertaining back stories, rants and scoldings. But other than the head coach, media people and you the fan don't often get good inside stuff on this college super power.
Can McCarron tone it down with his "AJ and Katherine against the world" deal? Yes. Can he stop blaming the media for so many media (and social media) predicaments he gets into? Certainly.
But I say we need to hear more of Mac The Knife when it comes to giving the public insightful commentary about the Crimson Tide. I say "Bring it on AJ", and continue to be you. Just remember that you may want to wait a few months to visit Tuscaloosa.