Mr. Excited

Of all the different days past and present of the premier Southeastern Conference media event, Friday's media day was – well - one of them. The event entitled "Kickoff 2005" is no substitute for the thrill that will come in just over a month from now.

Like most of us, Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle was excited nevertheless by the approach of the coming season.

"I'm probably the most excited guy y'all have talked to all week about the upcoming season," he said.

Croyle faced the media questions about his evaluation of teammates and newcomers, his prospects for the season, and the unanswerable questions about whether his relatively injury-prone body can withstand the rigors of a season of College football in the SEC. His expectations have never changed.

"We expect a championship," he said. "That's been our goal since the last game we played last year. A lot of people say we're crazy. ‘How are y'all going to win an SEC championship after going 6-6?' Just looking at it I could see where people would say that. We know what happened to us last year and we know that by the last game of the season we were starting a third-string quarterback and a fourth-string tailback and we were still competing in ball games. You know, why not?"

Croyle had some encouraging thoughts about some incoming freshmen that have yet to take part in a practice, but have been involved in the voluntary pass skel and other workouts during the summer, giving Glenn Coffee a particular nod.

"Once they get to school you start sizing them up," Croyle said. "I think we have a couple running backs that are going to come in and be special players for us. Especially Coffee, he's come in and really impressed all the older guys with his work ethic and the way he goes about things. We all expect him to have a huge year for us."

Brodie had nothing but good things to say about just about everyone, of course. He said Kenneth Darby is back to running and cutting just as he was last year, only 15 pounds heavier.

He said the offensive line has worked and studied film more than any unit he has seen, thanks to the leadership of the line's only center, JB Closner.

He has seen his corps of receivers mature of the past year.

"They're actually calling me asking me if I'll come watch film with them as opposed to me having to drag somebody up there," he said. "It's been very encouraging all summer."

Croyle has seen the past three Alabama head coaches from a very unique perspective, and the difference he has seen in Shula and the other two has been consistency.

Has Shula changd since he arrived at Alabama? Yes and no. Just ask Croyle.

"He's starting to be more of the head coach," Croyle said. "Not to say that he wasn't before, but he had never been one before, so he is obviously making strides in that area.

"As far as a person goes, he's the exact same guy that got here on day one. He's the cool, calm, collected head coach. He's our rock. It's nice to have a rock that you know is going to be the same person day in and day out."

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