Stop me if you've heard this one. The back-up Alabama quarterback is better than the starter. A very…
McElroy Expects Good Passing Game
Alabama's practices (and everything else, within reason) are under scrutiny of ESPN cameras these days. It's a nice deal for both the cable sports network and Bama Coach Nick Saban. ESPN gets a special show and Saban gets to show off Crimson Tide football to an audience that almost certainly will include high school football prospects.
One Greg McElroy contribution to the project is wearing a specially equipped helmet. A camera mounted on the top of the helmet presents the football view that McElroy sees. But it's heavy.
"I could really tell a difference," he said. "It was pulling my helmet down. I was having to adjust it." He said there are times when he doesn't need to have his chinstrap buckled, but with the weight of the camera, the helmet tended to fall across his face.
McElroy said, "It's pretty wild though, pretty cool. It's nothing to complain about. I think it's cool that people can see things from our perspective. I've always enjoyed seeing that."
He wore it for "four or five periods," he said. "When I took it off I could tell the difference."
McElroy said he was chosen "because I'm not getting hit."
He probably was chosen because he is the quarterback who led Alabama to a 14-0 record as a first-year starter in 2009. He is the quarterback of the team that won the national championship last year and is being picked in most pre-season polls to win this year's title.
McElroy and other returning key players from last year's team were in Alabama's first practice of Fall camp, a morning workout in shorts and helmets that lasted about two hours. In the evening, a second practice with the other half of the team, including the newcomers, was held Thursday evening. The squad will work together in a Friday practice.
On Sunday, Alabama will have Fan Day with an open practice at Bryant-Denny Stadium beginning at 2:30 p.m. Following the practice, players and coaches will be available for a brief time for autographs.
There has been a change in Greg McElroy from a year ago when he was considered a question mark as Alabama began the season with a new quarterback. Now he's one of the more highly regarded quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference and in the nation.
He made a bit of a stir in the summer of 2009 when he performed well in the famed Manning Football Camp with the famous quarterbacking family (Archie, Peyton, Eli). He went back this year and it was a different experience.
"I think this year was a litle more rewarding. I didn't feel as out of place. Last year I felt a little bit more nervous, a little bit apprehension about my approach to those guys. This year I was more comfortable picking their brains and asking them a lot of questions. There was such a diverse set of guys. It was cool getting to pick those guys brains a little bit. Obviously, it's rewarding to get with the quarterbacks. I was more in my element and got a lot out of it."
As would be expected, McElroy was in a different role at the camp this summer.
"It was funny," McElroy said. "Last year I was the guy who was cracking jokes and giving people a hard time, and this year it was sort of reversed, people giving me a hard time. ‘Where's your ring?' But it was a good experience. People were asking questions. I enjoy having a relationship with those quarterbacks."
McElroy said most of his conversations with the Mannings was "about how to prepare. And that's what I like most because I pride myself on my preparation. Those two (Peyton Manning and Eli Manning) are two of the best in preparation, being prepared for every situation possible in a game.
"That's what I wanted. How do they watch film, what they look for, how they get their timing down with their wide receivers. That's a big focus for me, because I think we have the potential to have a great offense insofar as passing the ball. I think I had some good conversations with those guys and learned some things that hopefully will help us out this season."
McElroy said that he wants to focus on having a high completion percentage, even though he doesn't really pay a lot of attention to statistics. "Statistics can be misleading and aren't really that important, but the more you get the ball into the hands of the play-makers, the more opportunities you have for them to make plays for you.
"We've done a great job in timing, we've done a lot of extra work in the summer in seven-on-seven, and we've done a lot of throwing after workouts.
"A lot of guys looked really good today. I think we're moving in the right direction."