Some QB Things Stayed The Same

The Crimson Tide's quarterback scrambled around looking for a receiver. Not just any receiver either. It had to be Alabama first team All-SEC standout Julio Jones. If he was double covered, as he was most of the game, then it was time to tuck the ball and get downfield.

Describe that scene to an Alabama fan who had just awakened this morning from a month-long coma, and he'd swear you were describing former Crimson Tide starter John Parker Wilson.

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Watching the first half of Saturday night's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game brought to mind a quote from Yankee great Yogi Berra.

"It's like deja vu all over again."

For Alabama fans, first-time starter Greg McElroy seemed to develop eerily similar habits to Wilson.

He spent most of his first half locking in on Jones. Other receivers for the most part went completely unnoticed.

At one point in the first half, McElroy missed nine consecutive pass attempts.

Several bad snaps and a shifting and aggressive Virginia Tech defense didn't help matters. Neither did an offensive line playing together for the first time.

Adding it all together produced a sputtering first half effort for an Alabama offense looking to make a statement to start the season.

"Things weren't going our way for a while," said McElroy. "We needed to step up and make a play."

The junior from Southlake, Texas showed signs in the third quarter of settling down and seeing the field better. He began scattering the ball around, hitting four different targets in a scoreless third quarter.

His pass to Marquis Maze with 12:51 remaining in the game was a thing of beauty.

It was the type of pass downfield that Alabama fans haven't seen the Tide connect on in recent years.

McElroy finished the second half a very efficient 10-of-14 passing for 139 yards. His second half performance further cemented the confidence his teammates have in him.

Tight end Colin Peek became his outlet valve in the second half. McElroy repeatedly found his tight end when pressured.

This week's game against Florida International should give him ample time prove that he can continue to learn the playbook.

The Crimson Tide will look for consistency from the offense in this one.

That all starts under center, where McElroy will be asked to spread the ball around and get it downfield.

McElroy has repeatedly said how much he prefers to throw the ball downfield. It's likely he will get the chance in upcoming games to do just that.

After FIU comes North Texas, a team who's already pulled one upset in 2009: a victory on opening day over Ball State.

North Texas coach Todd Dodge coached McElroy in high school. McElroy should come into this game looking to show his old coach what he can do

Those two games should prime the Alabama offense for its SEC opener. Three weeks from now the Arkansas Razorbacks roll into town.

Coach Bobby Petrino will bring his high-octane offense led by quarterback Ryan Mallett. Alabama fans hope that by the time he gets here, there will be more than one high-octane passing game on the field.

Judging from Saturday night, I don't think they will be disappointed.

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