It's hard to find fault with a quarterback who has led the nation in passing efficiency and has two national championships.
Which is why Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer isn't even trying.
Beamer's Hokies will get first crack this season at trying to rattle Alabama's AJ McCarron, who seems immune to that possibility. The 6-foot-4, 214-pound senior from Mobile completed 67.2 percent of his passes last season for 2,933 yards with 30 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
"This one has got the experience with two national championships, and he gets the ball to right people," Beamer said. "I would say he's an excellent quarterback -- above excellent, probably. For a college quarterback to have that experience and to have those people around him to have his talent and his intelligence -- that's probably about as good as you get."
McCarron has been asked for months about the Crimson Tide potentially becoming college football's first team to win three consecutive national titles. He has deflected such talk in the same manner as Tide coach Nick Saban, even as Alabama enters this season as the overwhelming No. 1 in the major polls.
Alabama returns T.J. Yeldon, a 1,000-yard rusher, and Amari Cooper, a 1,000-yard receiver, to complement McCarron, whose one interception for every 86.25 pass attempts is the best ratio in Southeastern Conference history.
"We've got a lot of experience, and we've got all the ingredients to have a special year," McCarron said. "We've just got to put things together at the right time."
Though he has quarterbacked the Tide to two BCS crowns, McCarron has yet to lead them to an undefeated season. He experienced a perfect run while redshirting in 2009, when Greg McElroy was the quarterback.
So there is that for motivation, as well as trying to set every major passing record the school has to offer.
"When a quarterback has experience and can handle a lot of situations in a game, I think that gives you the most flexibility on offense in terms of how much you can carry into a game, how much you can check in the game and how you can redirect protections," Saban said. "AJ has always done a really good job with that. AJ has had a good fall camp, and he had a good spring, but for the quarterback to play well, I think everyone around him has to play well.
"That's the challenge this unit has, but there is nothing that AJ has done in this offseason or in fall camp that says he won't play well."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...
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So it begins.