Taking what the defense gives him

It doesn't matter to Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron if a defense loads the box and forces the vertical ball or puts pressure on him and makes him throw short. He just takes what he's given and makes plays.

Alabama's offense doesn't try to force things. It takes what the defense gives and goes about its business and scores an average of 40.2 points per game.

Recent opponents have tried to slow down the Crimson Tide by putting eight men in the box to halt the running game and put pressure on A.J. McCarron. This has forced the quarterback to throw shorter passes and lessen the amount of long balls downfield.

McCarron's longest pass against Ole Miss two weeks ago was for 17 yards. Asked if that's something that bothers him, he shrugged his shoulders.

"Everybody keeps talking about the vertical passing game, but if they're not going to give us the vertical passing game then we're not going to take it," he said. "Teams have been giving us underneath and that's what we're going to take. We're not going to force things."

McCarron was complimentary of Missouri's defense, a unit that leads the SEC and is second in the nation with 53 tackles for loss. He made a point to mention defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who has three sacks so far this season, as one of their more physical players.

"No. 34 is a pretty good ball player," he said. "They play very good, sound defense as a whole. I think everybody knows what they're supposed to do and they do it well. Force you to make plays to beat them. They're not gonna beat themselves."

The Tigers are giving up 219.2 passing yards per game and only 107.5 rushing.

"Some teams are gonna load the box, play man, make you throw the ball vertically and beat them," McCarron said. "Some teams are gonna play zone, they can have the outside linebackers stacked in, closer to the box, so they're able to guard the pass in zone and play the run at the same time. They're a little more run-first oriented as a defense, so they're going to give you different looks. You just got to take what they give you and go from there."

Alabama will do just that and go about its business.

"If you want to stop the pass, we can run, if you want to stop the run, we can pass the ball," said running back Eddie Lacy. "Our offensive balance is very good."

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