Why Greg McElroy Will Be a Big Surprise for Alabama's Opponents

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IJuly 14, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  Quarterback Greg McElroy #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rolls out to pass against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama defeated Auburn 36-0.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Thibodaux, Louisiana is hardly a place where football dreams come true, but this past week it opened many eyes and made the dreams of one football player seem closer to reality.

Thibodaux is the home of the Manning Passing Academy, run by three of the best quarterbacks in Southeastern Conference history, Archie, Peyton and Eil Manning. The former Heisman runner up and his Super Bowl MVP sons are also assisted by numerous offensive coaches from around the country.

From Thursday, July 9 to Sunday, July 12, players from across the U.S. took part in this annual event. The cost of the camp is $545 per camper, and almost every participant believed that the camp was well worth the cost, especially Alabama's Greg McElroy.

"I picked up a lot of useful knowledge that I'm sure can help me with my accuracy and vision," said McElroy. 

Not that he needed much help with his accuracy. 

At the camp, there was a drill where the QBs threw at moving targets at 20, 35, and 50 yards, and the most accurate participants advanced to the next round. McElroy placed second in that drill after being nosed out by Jerod Johnson of Texas A&M.

In other drills, he led the pack.

During the week of drills and exhibitions, McElroy was drawing stares and causing people to ask, "Greg who?" With his pinpoint accuracy and his work in the speed drills, McElroy was quickly making a name for himself.

Though people came to see Heisman hopefuls Colt McCoy of Texas, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, Ole Miss phenom Jevan Snead, and others duke it for top honors, they sat and marveled at McElroy's ability to  out-duel the top collegiate quarterbacks in many events.

So the next time you read a story where people downplay Alabama for losing their starting quarterback and starting a first-year player, you can chuckle in knowing this first-year starter just beat out every so-called hot shot in the nation.

The whole scenario reminded me of a line from Happy Gilmore, a movie about a golfer who could drive 450 yards but couldn't putt. But in the movie's final tournament, he shows up and stuns the crowd by sinking his first hard putt.

"Uh-oh! Looks like Happy learned to putt!" said a smirking Adam Sandler to his ashen-faced nemesis.

When news of this gets out across the college football world, it will cause similar shock waves.

Everyone knew that Alabama had a killer defense, but you can't be a champion without being solid on both sides of the ball. 

I can see their faces when they're told, "Uh-oh! Somebody knows how to throw TD passes like throwing a stone in a lake."

And he plays for that team with the killer defense.

With Julio Jones and Marquis Maze catching everything but a cold, and Alabama fielding what will be one of the best one-two-three punches in the SEC at running back, teams may indeed be saying, "Uh-oh!"

Not only has McElroy raised the fear factor of the Crimson Tide, but also the eyebrows of the NFL scouts in attendance.

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