A.J. McCarron: We practiced no-huddle, but Saban didn't want it in games

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday January 30, 2014

A.J. McCarron admits he was surprised how quickly Doug Nussmeier left Alabama and how quickly Lane Kiffin replaced him.

Nussmeier worked with McCarron as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for his last two years, but left for the offensive coordinator job at Michigan. Kiffin was around Tuscaloosa during Alabama’s bowl preparation.

McCarron joined The Dan Patrick Show and was asked if he was surprised about Kiffin’s hiring.

“It surprised me how the whole thing happened, with Coach Nuss leaving real fast, him coming in fast,” McCarron said. “I know he’s a great recruiter. He’ll definitely help Coach Saban out, especially on the West Coast when it comes down to that. I know he’s a good offensive-minded coach. Hopefully he’ll do a good job.”

Some have speculated that Kiffin will bring more no-huddle tendencies to the Alabama offense. McCarron isn’t so sure.

“I just don’t buy into that as much, just because that’s what Nuss did at Washington,” McCarron said. “They did no-huddle. We practiced no-huddle, and then when we went into games, it’s like Coach (Saban) didn’t want us to do no-huddle. So I was sometimes a little lost and didn’t get everything, but Coach Saban is the best in the business for a reason. I just trusted in him.”

Saban was seen jumping into McCarron’s arms after a win last season, and Patrick asked McCarron if Saban has lightened up, publicly. The quarterback believes he was an exception.

“Maybe, maybe not,” McCarron said. “I think it’s just the connection me and him had. He’s the only person that recruited me from Alabama. I think I just earned his respect and trust, so therefore I was probably the only guy on the team that could challenge him sometimes. … The Texas A&M game, I told him, ‘Give me the ball.’ The Auburn game, I told him to give me the ball, and at the end, we had a lead, so we tried to play a little more conservative, but he trusted me.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.