AJ McCarron finally has an identity: the anti-Manziel

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Despite winning two BCS Championships in a row, AJ McCarron has always been an after-thought to the masses.

His success is a product of Alabama’s system.

He’s a game manager.

He’s Katherine Webb’s boyfriend.

The Katherine Webb phenomenon is the perfect example of how the masses have perceived AJ McCarron. McCarron wins his second national championship in a row, and nobody talks about him. Yet, his girlfriend was all over the place.

Finally we have a legitimate identity for this talented quarterback, and you can give Johnny Manziel an assist for it. There was so much hysteria regarding Manziel’s offseason and his appearance at SEC Media Days this week that the contrast between Manziel and McCarron could not have been made any clearer.

While Manziel reiterates that he’s going to do things any normal 20-year old will despite being the biggest thing in college football, McCarron has a different take: “You can’t be a normal 22-year-old kid…Every 22-year-old’s not doing what I’m doing. And I’m not able to do what they can do. I can’t go out and act the fool in public and drink excessively and end up being wild. I can’t do that. I’m not saying I want to in any type of way. But I want to be the type of guy that younger kids can look up to me.”

McCarron tells us how he’d like to be a good role model and eventually help kids. Manziel? “I’m not going for a Miss America pageant. I’m playing football. I’m a 20-year old kid. You can take that for what it’s worth but I’m enjoying my life and continuing to live life to the fullest. Hopefully that doesn’t upset too many people.”

Their demeanors are different. Manziel walked casually into Media Days laughing while he knew he was about to get grilled. He confidently took the heat and answered questions. McCarron is more quiet, more reserved, even a little shy.

The contrast has been firmly and publicly established.

AJ McCarron is now a fully formed individual in the eyes of mainstream college football fans. We get him. We know what he’s about. He’s not just a game manager anymore. He is the anti-Manziel.

And the media now has the perfect story for the next two months. The contrast between Manziel and McCarron will be played over and over as the media hypes their upcoming matchup. CBS and ESPN will tell us about these two friends that are so similar, yet so different. It will fuel the coverage of one of the biggest games in September when Alabama heads to College Station on September 14th.

It’s easy to look at the contrast and conclude that McCarron is who you’d want as your leader over Manziel. McCarron is all about “we” and Manziel is all about “I’ right? It’s not that simple.

The two have different personalities, yet it’s a cop out to say one is right and the other is bad.

As I’ve stated very clearly, Manziel’s personality is outstanding for college football. Manziel is confident, probably cocky. He’s got a chip on his shoulder. He wants people to know he’s the best. He doesn’t just want to win; he wants to make a statement. These qualities can be a major asset when kept in check. So far, there’s no reason to believe that come football season, these qualities will be anything but an asset as the Aggies take the field.

Consider LSU in recent years. How many games have they been pitiful for a quarter or two, but their swagger and attitude never fades. They make a big play, turn the game, and never look back. This attitude is what drives LSU in opponents’ stadiums. Why does LSU seems to revel in the toughest atmospheres? They eat it up. Johnny Manziel is no different.

It’s not an either-or question of AJ McCarron vs Johnny Manziel. They’re both outstanding college quarterbacks. Your team is lucky to have either. Their strengths differ, but coaches plan their offenses based on their quarterback’s individual strengths. McCarron and Manziel both lead his respective team effectively in a very different way from the other. They differ in personality and style. Yet, they’re the same in that they are both very comfortable in their own skin. Isn’t that really all we can ask?

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COMMENTS

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  • I just talked to A.J. and he says this article is a crock….

  • I get a lot of flack from Bama fans on this site any time I defend my stance on Murray being a better QB than McCarron. And I enjoy messing with them. But that does not mean I don’t like this guy and the way he handles himself off the field. Seemed like he used this as an opportunity to put his and Johnny “rock star” s supposed friendship to the side and let everyone know where his priorities were. Kudos to AJ for that…and for stating that he felt an obligation to the paying customers of the manning camp to be there and fulfill his duties. To me it was very clear that he did not want to be associated with the hoopla that surrounds Manziel and was even perhaps a little irritated by it.

    • preciate the comment…AJ was forced to put distance between himself and johnny bc the media KEPT asking him questions about it…why didnt he wake him? does he think he’s negativly incfluenced by manziel, etc…JF continued to say that AJ is his buddy and this and that and it was clear that AJ doesnt want to be remembered as the guy who didnt wake Manziel up…its a shame that AJ continues to win and lead the team how he’s supposed to, has more rings than losses as a starter and he still “didn’t have an identity”.. We love AJ, and he’s being honest when he says that he’s never brought a bad light to the team or his family, and he should be commended for that

      • Yeah you could tell he wanted to say ‘Look it isn’t my job to babysit some drunk and make sure he shows up’…think we’ve all been there…but he didn’t wanna just throw Manziel under the bus.

  • McCarron’s legacy won’t be truly appreciated until after he’s long gone. While someone is playing there’s too much rival “hate” to fully appreciate what a great quarterback McCarron has been. It’s almost like he’s the “Eli Manning” of college football. No one wants to truly call him a great quarterback for one reason or another. Yet all he’s done is win and win big. For Bama fans it shouldn’t matter. As long as the team keeps putting up championships let the others argue among themselves.

  • Is the Eli Manning your comparing him to the Eli Manning that got arrested for Drunken and disorderly conduct? Just asking? Ive got no bones with Eli, AJ or Manziel just want to make sure your AJ comparison is with the right guy!!

    • Arrested in College that is at teh age of 20 that is! Being a college kid that is. EBing himself that is. Good for AJ he and Tebow can hang out together and compare lives. Manziel still has plenty of growing up to do and plenty of time to do it being 20. Maybe by 22 he’ll be more mature. It’s a shame some of his critics can’t say the same. But in the end He doesn’t really care what the critics think. His teammates, family and friends are what matters. haters will be haters. You can be a “Saint” like Tebow and still every move you make is criticized and objected.

    • “Eli Manning” from the standpoint of Eli’s NFL career regarding getting credit for being a great quarterback. Eli has already won more SB’s than his brother, he doesn’t choke in playoff games, like his brother is known to do. Yet Eli struggles to get recognized as a great qb. AJ falls into the same category. The comparison had nothing to do with their behavior.

      • Also, Eli got a public drunk as an 18-year old freshman. For any that haven’t been to Oxford, you can get a public drunk after swishing around some Scope. Really, it’s the only negative to Oxford. As for what you said about McCarron earlier: as long as he’s leading your team to wins, who cares what anyone else thinks?

  • Just goes to show you that nobody likes a crybaby. Let’s face it, McCarron is an above average college QB surrounded by enormously talented and well coached teammates. AJ showed his femiinine side against LSU, A&M and even Notre Dame. What kind of girl would throw a wall-eyed hissy fit with his All-American (4.0 GPA Accountant) center on national television during the BCS championship game with a THREE TOUCHDOWN LEAD?!?!?

    AJ is just a drama queen surrounded by actual men. He feels like he is entitled to the trappings of success that the young upstart at A&M is getting. And why not? Nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is. Now he has crossed the line by once again going all “Mommy Dearest” on Manziel, a guy who has had nothing but good things to say about AJ since the first time they met. I’m sure that Manziel has pulled several punches on AJ’s behalf. Whether McCarron’s betrayal on Thursday was scripted for him (I feel this is likely) or truly expresses his butt hurt feelings, he came off as the punk in this deal. Not Manziel.

    At any rate, the media will get its wish for an over hyped, highly dramatic match-up on September 14; full of heroes and villains, David versus Goliath… subplots galore. Let’s all hope that the actual game lives up to the unattainable level of anticiaption. It should be interesting to see if AJ’s brand new offensive line can prevent him from walking funny after the game. See you there.

    • I do not know a championship team that does not closely fit the description of your second sentence. As far as the interview is concerned, I never got an impression anywhere near your description. I suggest you take off the Aggie tinted glasses. And finally, I agree with you on the final paragraph with one correction, replace “AJ’s” with “JFF’s.” BTW, my glasses are tinted crimson.

    • Sounds like AJ stole your girlfriend and your lunch money. “Above average” qb’s aren’t projected 2nd and 3rd round NFL picks as juniors. The majority of qb’s on national championship teams have enormous talent around them. Sounds you’re the drama queen sweetness.

      AJ distance himself from Manziel because the media was making an attempt to attached him to Manziel’s mischief. It was a ploy, AJ recognized and let Manziel’s actions stand on their own. Let’s not over dramatize this. I think I know who has the real butthurt. LOL!