But Mike Shula doesn't have any doubts that Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle has a very strong arm. "He has a very strong arm," Shula said. "I don't know this from my own experience, but sometimes he has to take something off his throw."
Shula, an excellent quarterback at Alabama in the 1980s, relied more on accuracy than strength for passing success, and made several self-deprecating remarks in discussing Croyle's strength.
Sometimes, Shula said, Croyle will have to take something off a long pass so the receiver can get to it. Sometimes he'll have to ease up on a short pass so the receiver can handle it.
But he doesn't need to take too much off, the coach said.
"A receiver likes to get the ball as quickly as possible," Shula said. "But there's a difference in getting it there quick and in getting it there too hard."
Shula said Croyle's arm strength could be considered a challenge for the wide receivers, but indicated it wouldn't rank as the top challenge. "They have a lot of challenges," he said, "such as handling the bump and run and running good routes."
At least one Croyle pass was dropped in Monday's scrimmage, probably because it was "too hot to handle." But a better exhibition of passing could hardly be asked for. After his first two passes were dropped, Croyle still finished with 19 completions in 26 attempts for 281 yards and five touchdowns and one interception, which came off a tipped pass.
And Croyle, an upcoming junior, was just off the mark on a couple of other long ones.
Perhaps the best thing about Croyle is that he had a new commitment in the weight room in the offense. After finishing a sophomore year in which he was battered and bruised and nearly broken, resulting in post-season shoulder surgery, Croyle has built himself up considerably. He finished last season at 184 pounds and reported for fall camp at 206 pounds.
Last year he threw for 2003 yards, best in Bama history for a sophomore, and tied Shula's record with 16 touchdown passes.
"Brodie is one of our assets and we want to use him," Shula said. "If the receivers are going to make plays–and I think they are going to make them–then we're going to throw it."