McElroy ‘Here To Stay' At Alabama
"I'm Alabama," Greg McElroy said following the Crimson Tide's Thursday practice. "I'm here to stay."
McElroy said the rumor might have started because his father is an alumnus of Hawaii, having been there in 1978 and 1979. Greg said he had been "to a couple of Aloha Bowls."
For now, McElroy and his Bama teammates are preparing for the Independence Bowl against Colorado. The Tide player is well acquainted with the quarterback on the other side for that game. Cody Hawkins, the freshman star and son of Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins, and McElroy met when the two were prep stars. They attended the same quarterback camp in California.
Last week, McElroy and Hawkins spoke, renewing their friendship.
"He's a great kid from a great family," McElroy said.
While Hawkins has had a fabulous freshman season, McElroy spent his initial fall at Alabama as a redshirt. This year he has seen only spot action, mop-up work in the season-opener against Western Carolina and in the 41-17 win over Tennessee, Bama's sixth and final win of the season.
McElroy completed eight of nine passes against Western Carolina, including one for a touchdown. He had 73 total passing yards.
That's a far cry from his one season as quarterback at Texas powerhouse Carroll High in Westlake. After sitting out behind Chase Daniel, who starred at Missouri this year, McElroy was the state 5A offensive player of the year and MVP of the state championship game as he led that 2005 squad to the Texas championship.
As a senior he completed 321 of 450 passes for 4,687 yards and 56 touchdowns with only nine interceptions. He also rushed for over 700 yards and another dozen touchdowns. In the state championship victory he completed 21 of 31 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
These days it's a matter of getting what work he can behind John Parker Wilson. "The opportunities for the back-up quarterback in practice are few and far between, so I try to take full advantage of them," McElroy said.
The 6-3, 218-pound quarterback demonstrated his willingness to work this fall as the coaching staff selected him for the Iron Man Award for his work in the strength and conditioning program.
During games McElroy has been on the sidelines with a headset connected to the offensive assistant coaches and Head Coach Nick Saban. "It's interesting to get the coaches' point of view and then know the play before it's run," he said. He also said he had the ability to punch in and talk to the coaches, but said he only did that on rare occasions. "It was accidentally," he said. "The coaches don't want to hear from me."
Alabama's other scholarshipped back-up quarterback is another Texan, Nick Fanuzzi from San Antonio.
McElroy said when Fanuzzi came in last year "I took him under my wing. I've been that guy. I've been that freshman." And he said when committed prospect Star Jackson of Lake Worth, Florida, arrives, "I'll take him under my wing, too. And then we'll all compete."
McElroy doesn't have a problem helping in the recruiting process for men who will compete with him for playing time. "Alabama football is great because of the all the people who have been here," he said. "It's going to be great far past the five years that I'm here. The more good people we have the better it's going to be."
Alabama will have practice Friday, then an early practice Saturday after which the players will be released to go home. Players will reassemble in Shreveport on Christmas day for an evening practice.
"I'll be going home for the first time since June 3," McElroy said. "I'm looking forward to it."
McElroy said his home is about a three-hour drive from Shreveport, but said he would fly to the bowl site—about a 35-minute flight. "I don't want to spend all Christmas driving," he said.
The Independence Bowl game will be played on Sunday, December 30, with kickoff at 7 p.m. CST and television coverage by ESPN.
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