McElroy Does Well On And Off Field

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy had two quizzes last week. He faltered on the one that didn't matter, sportswriters asking about the history of Bama vs. Penn State. Later in the week he was quizzed by a panel of University professors as part of the application for a Rhodes Scholarship. McElroy did as well in that challenge as he did in leading Bama to a football victory over Penn State Saturday.

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy also was perfect in his weekly quiz from the sportswriters, who wanted to know what McElroy knew about legendary Bama and Duke Coach Wallace Wade.

"I know Wallace Wade has a statue out in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium," McElroy said. "I know he led us to three national championships, and I believe he obviously was a tremendous coach here as well as at Duke."

Exactly right. Wade was coach for Alabama's first Rose Bowl teams and first national championship squads, 1925, 1926, and 1930. He then went to Duke and the stadium in Durham, N.C., is named for the Hall of Fame coach. On Satuday, McElroy will lead the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide against the Duke Blue Devils in Wallace Wade Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 central time) with television coverage by ABC.

Wade is one of five coaches to win national championships at Alabama. Three of the others – Frank Thomas, Paul Bryant, and Gene Stallings – also have statues on the Walk of Champions on the North end of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Sometime this season it is anticipated that current Bama Coach Nick Saban will have his statue unveiled for the Tide's 2009 national championship.

Last Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium, McElroy completed 16 of 24 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns in leading Alabama to a 24-3 win over Penn State and its legendary coach, Joe Paterno.

On the Wednesday prior to that McElroy impressed the Rhodes Scholarship panel at The University, which endorsed two of five nominees.

"It's really encouraging," McElroy said. "It's probably one of the tougher hurdles to climb, because if the school doesn't endorse you then you don't even really have the opportunity to apply."

McElroy, who earned his degree prior to the start of last season and who has been in graduate school, had to handle one particular knotty question in his performance before the committee. He has one ‘B' at Alabama – in a course called "management and leadership."

Few football players at Alabama have been more capable as leaders, and McElroy made that suggestion last Wednesday. He said he responded by saying, "Look, I feel like I practice leadership on a day to day basis.

McElroy said he also felt good about his football performance against Penn State. "I felt good about it," he said. "I thought we did a couple of good things. Obviously there are some things we need to iron out -- minimize the mental mistakes like formation penalties, false starts and substitution penalties. Those things can be ironed out. Those are kind of typical early in the season, but they are also things we don't want to have lingering. If we can get those things taken care of it should help us out in the long run."

McElroy is smart enough not to be lulled into thinking that just because Duke gave up 54 points to Wake Forest last week that the Blue Devils will be easy.

Everybody is a little bit different every time you step out there on the field. One week you can go out and have a great week and (as a defense) allow very few points, and you go out another week and lay an egg and allow a whole bunch of points and a whole bunch of yards. It just kind of depends on the opponent you're playing, and you never know which opponent we're going to get.

"We understand we're probably going to get Duke's best shot. Regardless of what they did last week, I'm sure they'll have a plan in place to take away some things we do well, and it should make it difficult for us."

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