McElroy Will Use Men Around Him

Like the Alabama offense, which lost six starters off last year's 12-2 team, both its new quarterback and revamped front line are works in progress. However, redshirt junior Greg McElroy seems poised to take over and, as his position coach, Offensive Coordinator Jim McElwain, suggests, make use of some handy weapons.



"I have a lot of faith in the guys around me, that they'll make plays for me," Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy said. "That's another thing that gives the quarterback confidence."     

McElroy is all for spreading the ball around, but, like John Parker Wilson before him, knows who the go-to-guy is. It's the same guy, a fellow named Jones, who was this week named to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award that goes to the NCAA's best receiver.

     "Julio Jones: it doesn't get a lot better than having him on your side," McElroy said. "He's a great football player. He's got a great understanding of the offense, and he works extremely hard. You'll never see him walking across the field. He's always on the jog. He's always got some pep in his step, and he's a good leader. A lot of people don't understand; a lot of the leading he does is by example. He's never satisfied. No one does It better than he does."

For McElroy to be effective, he'll need time provided by an offensive line that is looking to replace three starters, two of which were All-America players. While four names seem set, the four spots they man are not, so shuffling continues.

"There's a lot of guys in there," said McElroy. "Guys are playing positions they're uncomfortable with, but they're getting a lot of opportunities to play different positions across the line, and it's really helping them as far as understanding what their assignments are. It helps them to communicate amongst each other, and build more unity, so it's been good so far to this point."

McElroy added that every snap for him gives a new comfort level. He said, "I think there is. I can really sense a big difference as far as spring and ball and fall camp, as far as comfort, understanding and confidence are concerned. I feel good about the way I'm playing right now. Obviously, there's a lot of improvement to be made, and hopefully throughout fall camp I'll continue to do that."

The offense must come together, as kickoff for the season opener against Virginia Tech is just over three weeks way.

"The days are numbered," McElroy observed. "We've got a great opponent ahead of us in a few weeks, and we want to prepare the best way we know how. I think the best way to do that is by going against a great team every day, and that's our defense. We get to see some different looks from them every day that are really difficult for a quarterback, and the offense as a whole to pick up."

And that may mean some immediate help from some talented newcomers, but not all the young and promising guys are on the offensive side of the ball.

"I think some of the (young) guys are getting an opportunity to make plays. I can't single anybody out on offense," McElroy said. "I think they've all done a good job, but from the quarterback's perspective, I think (freshman cornerback) Dre' Kirkpatrick's done a really good job. He's fast, he's agile, and he has a pretty good understanding of what to do. He's made life difficult for some of the quarterbacks up to this point. We look for him to improve, and to continue to get better."

Much the same could be said of the 2009 Alabama offense, which starts with McElroy.

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