When the fifth of September finally rolls around, Greg McElroy will find himself in Atlanta, Georgia, which is a long way from his home of Southlake, Texas.
Much like he did in high school, McElroy will find himself stepping into the shoes of a successful quarterback. The Tide hopes that, much like high school, he will have the success necessary to lead his team to a championship.
In high school, McElroy waited behind upperclassman Chase Daniel, knowing that he would eventually get his turn and working to make the most of it when he did.
When the time came, McElroy indeed made the most of his opportunity, breaking all of Daniel's passing records on the way to taking Southlake Carroll to a high school mythical national championship.
McElroy has now spent the last three years once again holding the clipboard, this time for former Alabama starter John Parker Wilson.
Is he once again ready to take the reins and lead his team to a championship?
Former Heisman Trophy candidate Daniel thinks he will be, telling Birmingham News writer Ian Rapoport, “They're going to throw for a lot of yards under him this year, and I'm excited to get to watch him play.”
Daniel also added he felt McElroy was like a sponge, soaking up everything around him, and that this was one of the things that would make him such a success.
McElroy makes it clear that just winning 12 games isn't enough. He feels as though it's time for Alabama to start winning championships, and until they do, they're falling short of what they're capable of doing.
He told USA Today staff writer Kelly Whiteside, “If you talk to most of our fans, without an SEC championship or national championship, the season can't be deemed a complete success. That's the attitude we want to establish around here.”
McElroy is used to putting up big numbers when being given a chance to play. His senior year of high school, he set a Texas record with 56 touchdown passes against some of the toughest competition in the country.
Those expecting Nick Saban and staff to bring him along slowly to start the season may be in for a surprise.
McElroy may be a first-time starter, but with three years of soaking in everything about this offense, I'd expect the Alabama offensive staff to try to build him some confidence early against the Hokies.
If Alabama's running game produces the way it is capable of doing and Alabama is able to make use of its play action passing game, then McElroy could open the 2009 season with a huge night.
Let him gain confidence early in the year, and he could lead the Alabama offense to its most productive season in some time.
None of it will matter at all, though, according to McElroy, if the Tide is unable to come away some kind of championship hardware—then they haven't met their own expectations.
I kind of like the way the kid thinks.
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