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Alabama QB McCarron says he expects Saban to stay

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron says he doesn't believe coach Nick Saban will leave for Texas.

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McCarron made his comments in advance of Thursday's College Football Awards Show. Saban is reportedly a target of Texas officials to be the school's next coach if Mack Brown is fired or steps down.

But the quarterback also added that he can't speak for his coach.

''To me, he's not leaving. That's my personal opinion,'' McCarron said Wednesday. ''I can't speak on Coach Saban. I stay out of his business. But if I had a pick, I'd say he's not leaving.''

McCarron is up for the Maxwell Award as the nation's best overall player and the Davey O'Brien quarterback award Thursday. He also is one of six finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented on Saturday.

Should Heisman favorite and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston claim the award, it would be the second consecutive year that the award goes to a freshman. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won last year and is a finalist again.

''I'm happy for those guys,'' said McCarron, a fifth-year senior who just missed a shot at leading Alabama to a third consecutive national championship. ''Johnny's one of my good friends. Jameis, I'd be happy for him, too. I don't have any hatred against anybody, or against the Heisman committee or whoever votes on it. They're going to vote how they're going to vote.

''I'm happy, and like I said, I go home at night and I can pull out my three national championship rings and smile pretty big and be pretty happy. I don't need an individual award to tell me what I've achieved.''

Still, he said the invitation to New York, which will be his first trip to the Big Apple, is something he will savor.

''Of course it made me feel good. I kind of smiled, proved a lot of people wrong. But I also feel like I earned it and I deserve it,'' McCarron said. ''I think if you look at ... the three years of me starting, I'd put my numbers up (against) anybody in the country. ... What, 13 interceptions my whole three years starting? I mean, a lot of guys throw that in one year. I feel like I've taken care of the ball, I've done all the right things on and off the field.

''So if the award goes by their mission statement, I feel like I fit it pretty well.''

---

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

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