Cover Boy

Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle has been on the cover of ‘BAMA Magazine any number of times, but it seems it's a much bigger deal for him to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The national sports publication hits the newsstands in a day or so and there is Bama's star from the romp over Florida.

Brodie Croyle had not seen the Sports Illustrated cover when he talked to sportswriters following Tuesday's Alabama practice. But he had heard about it from his teammates. The cover story is on Bama's surprisingly easy 31-3 victory over Florida last Saturday and features the Crimson Tide's quarterback.

"It's something you dream about," he said, "but I'd rather have a (championship) ring than a cover. We're halfway to where we want to be."

He was asked what he thought about the theme, that Bama Is Back. "That's what we want to be," Croyle said.

What about the report that he looks like Ringo Starr. "Ringo Starr?" he said. "Who's that?"

No one had the heart to identify the former Beatles drummer, at one time among the world's dozen or so most famous faces.

Brodie said that although he had not yet seen the cover and didn't think his teammates had either, that it's just a matter of time. And he expects some good-natured ribbing. "I'm sure they'll have something to say about it," he said.

Croyle also said he did not believe in any Sports Illustrated cover jinx, the theory that a cover subject soon has a downfall.

Alabama has been featured on many Sports Illustrated covers over the year, but this is the first positive football cover in many years.

Alabama Coach Mike Shula didn't have a lot to say about it, other than, "I'm biased, but I think our guys deserve that."

Croyle was more interested in talking about the rest of the season. "There's no way we would have a letdown," he said. "We've been on the other side of it and don't want to be there. We have too many seniors for that to happen. And our coaches aren't going to let it happen."

Alabama is open this week. The Tide had its normal Sunday practice and Monday off day, then went back to the practice field Tuesday. There will be another practice Wednesday, then a brief workout Thursday before players are released for a couple of days off. Preparation for the Ole Miss game at Oxford on October 15 will begin in earnest Sunday. That game will be televised either by CBS at 11 a.m. CDT or by ESPN2 at 6:15 p.m. CDT.

Croyle said that a goal during the off week is to work on segments that need improvement. As an example he cited third down efficiency.

The Florida game was fun, and winning the first five games of the season and rising to seventh in the nation has been fun. Croyle said, "We play football for fun and that's how we go out there. We all love playing the game and enjoy it."

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