"I was imitating the quarterback from Iowa State," Madison explained. "He's supposed to be something else. In high school I played quarterback for three years on and off. I enjoyed it."
"We were supposed to be Seneca Wallace," Harper added. "I saw a couple of his plays on film. He's real good. I just tried to imitate him, but I couldn't match him. He's a good player."
Both Harper and Madison are true freshmen, redshirting their first season on campus. So working with the scout team against first teamers was nothing new. But before today the two had worked exclusively on defense (Harper at free safety and Madison at cornerback), leaving the quarterbacking to Spencer Pennington, Matt Miller and Brodie Croyle.
However, in Seneca Wallace, Alabama faces a quarterback with scrambling ability far beyond anything the Tide defense has seen so far this year. And special talent was required for the job. "Both Roman and I had experience at quarterback in high school," Madison explained. "The coaches thought that we would best fit the role doing it, because we already knew what it takes to run the option. It was a win/win situation."
The Cyclone quarterback is something of a sensation, displaying lightning-quick moves when scrambling with the football. Wallace is an effective passer, but when he tucks the ball under his arm and heads upfield, opposing defenders hold their breath. "He's like trying to tackle the wind," was how one opposing coach put it.
Even though Bama's regular scout-team QBs are gifted athletes, none of them bear much resemblance to Wallace. "They needed a little bit of a look," Harper said. "I was glad to give them one. It let me relive some of my old high school days. It was fun."
"Coach had me back there doing a couple of plays," Madison said. "They wanted us to run the veer option, a lot of option plays. We had the option to run or throw the ball. Just doing a little something, something for the offense."
During his prep career, Madison accounted for more than 4,000 yards of offense, including one game in which he totaled 400+ yards of total offense while scoring four TDs. And despite breaking his leg his senior year, Harper still contributed more than 800 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns.
Since arriving at Alabama, both Madison and Harper have embraced the move to defense, recognizing that their talents are more suited to intercepting passes than throwing them. But if you get the feeling that they miss being the offensive star…
Just a little bit…
Well, you'd be right.
"Yeah, well, you know," Madison said, just slightly embarrassed. "It did bring back some memories. It was just something that the coaches asked us to do. Just juke and try to give them a good look. To resemble the quarterback that they were going up against in the bowl."
"Moves? Yeah, you saw a little bit," Harper chimed in with a laugh. "I wasn't warmed up all the way, but it was still cool. It was fun to run against the first team. I enjoyed myself. Anthony and I, we had fun with it. We might do it again."