Guillon should make an impact

With Bama resting starter Brodie Croyle during the bye week practice sessions and Spencer Pennington still recovering from a shoulder injury, transfer quarterback Marc Guillon is getting plenty of reps in practice.

"We gave him a few reps today, even though he can't play this year," Tide Head Coach Mike Shula said of the sophomore transfer. "Marc continues to improve."

A native of Mirmonte, California, Guillon (pronounced "gill-an")was a highly-recruited quarterback out of high school. As a prep senior he passed for 2,200 yards and 23 touchdowns against only seven interceptions, while leading his team to a 13-0 record. Guillon signed with Miami, and played in two games last season before a shoulder injury ended that year. He also considered Southern Cal, UCLA, LSU, Washington and Stanford.

Marc Guillon is one of four scholarshipped quarterbacks Bama has on its roster.

Heading into this season Guillon believed that he didn't figure into the Hurricanes' plans, so he decided to transfer. After reviewing his film, the Tide coaches welcomed him to Tuscaloosa, placing him on scholarship.

Interestingly, had things gone differently Guillon could easily have signed with Alabama out of high school. "I was here at camp the summer before my senior year (of high school)," Guillon told in an interview last September. "I was really looking hard at Alabama. But when I came here for the one-day camp and talked with Coach Franchione, I just got a bad feeling about him. Obviously I guess that was the right feeling.

"I decided to go somewhere else and try my luck. It didn't work out at Miami, so I think it's fate that I'm back here."

With grants still limited by NCAA sanctions, the Bama coaches obviously saw something in Guillon that they liked. "I'm excited that Marc's here," Shula said. "He's going to help the offense and help the quarterback position."

Guillon must sit out this season after transferring. He'll be considered a redshirt sophomore in 2004, with three years to play three. Guillon's scholarship counts against both Alabama's overall total and against its 2003 initial counters.

Most weeks Guillon works exclusively with the scout team, providing a good "look" for the Tide defense of the upcoming opponent's offense. But during Bama's bye week, he's also taken snaps with the varsity.

As a long-time quarterbacks coach in the NFL, Shula knows what he's looking for in a Tide QB.

"Marc's got a quick release," Shula said. "He's decisive, and he's accurate."

With injury problems plaguing two other Tide quarterbacks, Guillon will have every chance to show his talents this spring.

Brodie Croyle is Bama's clear No. 1, but he's expected to undergo shoulder surgery following the season. Depending on his rehab, it's not likely that Croyle will be fully recovered by spring practice. That will free up significant reps, setting the stage for Guillon to showcase his abilities.

"As he continues to grow and his arm gets stronger, I think Marc will be pretty good," Shula said.

Given the circumstances of his arrival, it's understandable that Guillon has so far chosen to keep things low-key. But Shula likes his demeanor.

"He's one of those guys that in meetings just sits there and nods his head," Shula said. "You're not sure that he's picking everybody up, but all indications are that he is.

"You won't know until he gets out there and does it on his own."

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