TUSCALOOSA — After Alabama’s practice Tuesday evening, Tide quarterback AJ McCarron entered the media interview room wearing sweatpants, an oversized sweatshirt, a red pullover hat ... and a smile.
The pullover hat caused the smile. An Alabama media relations staff member asked McCarron if he would take it off for a television interview, and a laughing McCarron playfully argued that he should keep it on.
McCarron won the “argument,” and he did it such a disarming way, most of the reporters in the room couldn’t help but laugh along with him.
So, if you’re wondering what McCarron’s mood is after Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M on Saturday, it apparently is fine.
“You can’t worry about things that happened in the past,” he said. “You can’t control that. Got to move on. We got to win out, take care of business and just control what we can control.”
Although Alabama’s hopes for a third national championship in four years took a major blow, teammates said McCarron was one of the players pushing everyone to look forward. They said he stood up in the locker room afterward and told his teammates they couldn’t give up on the season.
He compared it to last season when a loss to LSU nearly derailed a shot at the national championship.
“We were in that same situation last year,” he said. “And not to really compare, but like I said, all we can do is move on. There’s no reason to worry about what happened in that game.
“Once that clocks ends, it’s the same as ones you win. That game was that game.”
McCarron said he’s determined not to look back at the Texas A&M game, except to learn. He said the biggest lesson was not to get behind 20-0 in the first quarter.
“We just dug ourselves in too big of a hole,” he said. “Fought hard to get back out of it. We had a chance to win it. But, like I said after the game, that’s football. Things always aren’t perfect. Stuff happens.”
McCarron didn’t have his best game. He threw his first two interceptions of the year and dropped from third in the national passing efficiency standings to seventh.
“As a quarterback, you’re always going to get a little more credit than you deserve when things go well, and maybe a little more of the blame when things don’t go well,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “But I do think that the kind of competitor AJ is, my expectation would be that he takes the bull by the horns, learns the lessons he’s learned in the last two games and tries to work on improving.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to say that he’s reached a plateau. I think he needs to break through and continue to improve and not be satisfied where he is, and get the players around him to help him do that. That would be my approach with him.”