AJ McCarron might have been accurate last week in his criticism of five-star recruits, who he said too often feel they're entitled to be starters right away. But Alabama coach Nick Saban had an interesting response: Try to remember what it was like to be a freshman.
In an interview with CBS Sports Radio's Jim Rome last week, McCarron said he thought elite prospects tend to enter college with the idea that they're too good to sit on the bench. "It's a little entitlement, and when they don't play off the bat, they get a little ticked off and they don't want to work," McCarron said.
Saban didn't necessarily disagree with McCarron, but he said he remembers McCarron wasn't that different in his first few days with the Crimson Tide.
"When they were freshmen they had the same issues," Saban said, referring to McCarron and other Crimson Tide stars. "I remember when AJ came up in my office all upset because he was the third-string quarterback after the first scrimmage. So, you know, sometimes we forget what it's like to be a teenager."
McCarron arrived at Alabama as a four-star recruit. After redshirting in 2009, he served as a backup the following season before taking over as the starting quarterback in 2011. He went on to lead the Crimson Tide to two national titles as a starter.
Saban, of course, has plenty of experience managing the expectations of elite prospects. After Wednesday's National Signing Day, the Crimson Tide finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for the fourth consecutive year.
Said Saban: "We want everybody to have goals and aspirations for everything they want to accomplish here. We just want them to be realistic about what they have to do to accomplish those goals, and to understand the competition here is actually going to help them be successful and help them to be better."