Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Is AJ McCarron OU's biggest problem?

by Berry Tramel Modified: December 23, 2013 at 10:35 am •  Published: December 23, 2013

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is underrated, says Berry Tramel. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is underrated, says Berry Tramel. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

AJ McCarron is generally projected as a second-round NFL Draft pick. He’s behind Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles on many boards.

But Bob Stoops, who has to contend with McCarron in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl, says McCarron won’t be overlooked by the pros and shouldn’t be overlooked in his college career, which has one game remaining.

“They won’t miss him when it comes to the NFL Draft,” Stoops said. “I’m not missing him. The guy’s fabulous. He throws a great ball. Very wise and intelligent in how he plays. A leader for his team. Makes very few mistakes. He’s all you want in a quarterback.”

Think about that last statement. I think Stoops is coming clean. McCarron is exactly what Stoops prefers in a quarterback. Stoops has drifted toward mobile quarterbacks, not because he thinks it’s the wave of the future, but because he ran out of the Josh Heupel/Jason White/Sam Bradford/Landry Jones family of QBs.

McCarron is exactly what Stoops has been deploying these last 15 years. No wonder the Sooners tried to recruit McCarron and no wonder McCarron says he almost came.

Sure, the run-around guy is exciting. But the guy who can deliver the ball quickly and accurately and clutchly is what Stoops prefers.

Check out McCarron’s career statistics: 75 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions, a .670 completion percentage.

Check out Bradford’s career statistics: 86 TD passes, 16 interceptions, .676 completion percentage.

Bradford became the top pick in the draft, so his physical attributes trump McCarron’s to some degree. But quite a similarity.

I’m a little with Stoops. I think McCarron is underrated. I would have voted him for the Heisman. I thought McCarron was the best player on the field in the Alabama-Auburn game. Not a game manager. Not a caretaker. A playmaker.

The Sooners would love to turn McCarron into a game manager for the Sugar Bowl. But that’s not likely to happen.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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