McElroy Preparing To Be Quarterback
"I thought it was a good job by the offense," said Greg McElroy, Alabama's upcoming junior quarterback. "I think we have taken what we have learned and translated it to the field. I thought the offense was efficient."
Alabama practiced on the artificial turf outdoor field Friday. The two-hour workout was in shells. The Crimson Tide of Coach Nick Saban went past the halfway mark on Friday. It was the eighth of the 15 allotted spring practice dates. Alabama will practice again Saturday. Bama will have its spring game April 18 at Bryant-Denny Stadium with ESPN televising the event.
McElroy produced a solid showing Wednesday, throwing for 214 yards and four touchdowns on 22-of-33 passing. "I thought it was a good day," McElroy said. "There were some positives and some negatives. Stats can be deceiving, but I thought we moved the ball well."
McElroy, who has been a backup the past three years, said he has been pleased with his performance this spring. "I have really worked hard on the things I wanted to improve on," he said. "I've tried to be efficient, which was my main goal of the spring, and make good decisions. I think I have done well to this point, obviously, there is room for improvement and there are things that I will be able to continue to improve on throughout the summer and fall camp."
Although Alabama does not have a spring depth chart, McElroy is the quarterback with what would be considered the first offense if there was a depth chart. And that means for the first time in his career he is getting the majority of practice repetitions with other first team players.
He said getting more repetitions is an advantage. "You develop more confidence, you have the opportunity to work on timing with the receivers," he said. "It has been helpful.
"But I think the main thing is the work I did in the off-season—in the weight room, in the film room, in the classroom.
"The reps help, but I think the preparation was important."
McElroy said, "So much about playing the position is intangibles. If the guys don't respond to you, it doesn't matter how good you are."
The quarterback discounted the notion that his statistics were better because he worked against the second defense while his competition, walk-on Thomas Darrah and redshirt freshman Star Jackson, were going against the first defense. "We don't have a depth chart," McElroy said. "We go to the line of scrimmage, I identify the Mike (middle linebacker), and make the call."
McElroy said it is the job of the quarterback to make the correct play regardless of who is playing on the other side. And he pointed out that Alabama is moving so many men in and out of the lineup that it would be difficult to say how much of his scrimmage work was against strictly a second team.
That's not to say that players don't matter. "A guy like Julio can go out and make the play," McElroy said, referring to sophomore star wide receiver Julio Jones.
McElroy said, "Every day is a new day. Every single rep counts. Every play is going to be graded and evaluated. I know what my job is. When Coach Saban is ready, he'll name a starter."
One of the standouts of the scrimmage statistics was tight end Colin Peek, who had seven receptions for 33 yards and caught two passes from McElroy for touchdowns. The senior transfer from Georgia Tech is 6-6, 247.
"Colin is a great player," McElroy said. "First of all, he's a big body. He's had college football experience. He's intelligent. He knows where to be. He plays great. Great players play smart. Colin plays smart and he's also got ability."
Three players were held out of contact work Friday. Wide receiver Earl Alexander (shoulder) and tailback Roy Upchurch (neck) have been kept out of contact all spring. Tailback Mark Ingram suffered a hamstring injury Monday and is expected to be out a week or two.
With the tailback position a bit thin, junior Terry Grant (the Tide's leading rusher in 2007, but little-used last season) had a nice scrimmage with 18 carries for 63 yards. "I've been around Terry Grant since he's been here," McElroy said. He's a great player. He never complains. He's happy with his role. He played tenacious football (in the scrimmage). I'm glad to have him and it was good to see him making plays."
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