While in Mobile for a Team Focus benefit dinner, Nick Saban on Tuesday recalled that starting quarterback and Mobile native AJ McCarron's first scrimmage with the Crimson Tide didn't get off to such a roaring start.

"I remember the first scrimmage AJ was in, we made him play with the threes," Saban said with a grin. "He was hot behind the collar and fussing out on the field and stormed up to my office when the scrimmage was over and said, 'How come you made me play with the threes? I thought I was going to be with the twos.' I said, 'We're only evaluating your leadership today and you failed.'"

It was a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek story about a quarterback who has since led two Alabama teams to BCS national championships, but Saban said it also shows how far the former St. Paul's star has come in his development as a leader.

"He has come a long way," Saban said of McCarron. "Now he is the best leader on our team, and has been, and is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. We're certainly pleased and proud to have him being our quarterback."