SEC: Star Jackson
- Reports of Pac-10 expansion won't force the SEC's hand, although commissioner Mike Slive said the league would continue to be "strategic and thoughtful" in its approach to expansion.
- Alabama isn't giving up hope that there could still be some adjustments to its schedule in 2010, which would prevent the Crimson Tide from having to face six teams coming off bye weeks.
- South Carolina president Harris Pastides is concerned with the escalating salaries of SEC assistant coaches.
- Florida president Bernie Machen looks for a "fired up" Urban Meyer in 2010.
- Former Alabama quarterback Star Jackson officially transfers to Georgia State and will be eligible to play this season.
- Mississippi State president Mark Keenum impresses to his fellow SEC presidents that cowbells are a part of the Bulldogs' tradition.
- Georgia adds a full-time nutritionist to its strength and conditioning staff for football.
- Mississippi State has sold more than 25,000 season tickets, which is 19 percent ahead of this time last year, reports Kyle Veazey of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
- Football and gardening are linked for former Georgia coach Vince Dooley.
- Columnist Kevin Scarbinsky of The Birmingham News wonders if former Alabama quarterback Star Jackson will have to jump through hoops to transfer like former Alabama basketball player Justin Knox.
- Back in the SEC as an assistant coach at Kentucky, former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin likes the fresh approach of first-year Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips.
- Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun ranks the SEC's top quarterbacks. He has Arkansas' Ryan Mallett No. 1 and Florida's John Brantley No. 2.
- Tennessee coach Derek Dooley says there haven't been any recent talks with former running back Bryce Brown, and although the door hasn't been shut, Dooley's not optimistic about Brown returning to the team.
- Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn't expect any relief next season in terms of the schedule being tweaked to reduce the number of teams the Crimson Tide have to face coming off bye weeks. Six of the eight SEC teams Alabama plays in 2010 will be coming off bye weeks.
- Alabama reserve quarterback Star Jackson is considering a transfer to Georgia State, which plays the Crimson Tide next season.
- Receiver Patrick Patterson is close to rejoining the Ole Miss football team following his spring suspension, but the chances of defensive back Tig Barksdale returning aren't as promising, reports David Brandt of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
- Former Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill's case against the NCAA plods along, writes Kyle Veazey of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
- Tennessee coach Derek Dooley says he's not into spreading "doom and gloom" during his booster club speaking stop in Columbia, S.C.
- Kentucky lands a commitment from Paducah, Ky., receiver Josh Forrest.
- Alabama reserve quarterback Star Jackson doesn't plan to be back with the Crimson Tide next season and plans to transfer, writes Gentry Estes of The Mobile Press-Register.
- South Carolina picks up its second commitment for the 2011 class from Athens, Ga., quarterback/cornerback Martay Mattox.
- Former Arkansas cornerback David Gordon says he's transferring to Oklahoma State, writes Brandon Chatmon of The Oklahoman.
- Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wonders what it would look like if Georgia Tech decided to move to the SEC.
- Mark Richt's run of consistency at Georgia speaks for itself, writes David Paschall of The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
- Ole Miss football player Bennie Abram died from complications related to sickle cell trait, exertion and an enlarged heart, according to autopsy results.
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
The only real suspense for Alabama's A-Day spring game is whether they can cram 90,000-plus fans into Bryant-Denny Stadium again.
Any drama surrounding the quarterback battle is lessening by the day. Junior Greg McElroy will quarterback the first-team offense as part of the Crimson team. Redshirt freshman Star Jackson and sophomore Thomas Darrah will be the quarterbacks for the second-team offense as part of the White team.
Alabama coach Nick Saban says McElroy is clearly out in front, but Saban stops short of calling McElroy the starter.
"The leadership, the anticipation, the understanding ... that's helped [McElroy] perform a little bit better than the other two guys who don't have some of those resources, at least right now," Saban said. "We want to continue to develop those guys, and we want [McElroy] to continue to improve as well."
Clearly Saban has been pleased with what McElroy has accomplished this spring and has repeated several times that McElroy's understanding and management of the offense has been what's set him apart.
Asked to name a surprise this spring, Saban mentioned sophomore safety Robby Green, who's taking over for Rashad Johnson, on defense and McElroy on offense.
"Greg McElroy has done a really, really good job," Saban said. "Not surprising to me, but maybe surprising to some people."
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
The race is on for Alabama's starting quarterback job.
Coach Nick Saban says the Crimson Tide might have an answer after spring practice ends, but there's also no rush to identify a starter during the spring. The competition could easily spill over into preseason practice.
|Marvin Gentry/US Presswire|
|Greg McElroy will compete for Alabama's starting quarterback job this season.|
McElroy, whose father, Greg McElroy Sr., is the Dallas Cowboys' executive vice president for sales and marketing, is no stranger to big-time football. He replaced Chase Daniel as the quarterback at Southlake Carroll High School in Texas and set a state record with 56 touchdowns.
After watching from the shadows the last few years, he gets his first real chance to show what he can do on the college stage. We caught up with McElroy for some of his thoughts on what will surely be one of the most watched battles on the Alabama practice field this spring:
How intense was the offseason program?
Greg McElroy: It's been tough, but it's supposed to be tough. I think the coaches are pleased, and the players are pleased with the way we've worked going into spring ball.
How different does it feel knowing that for the first time you have a legitimate chance to earn the starting job?
GM: It's obviously been a completely different approach for me. The last couple of years, I knew I was competing amongst myself, but not so much for a starting job. I learned a lot from John Parker (Wilson), and I'm looking forward to this opportunity. I've prepared myself accordingly and have put myself in a good position to be the starting quarterback here.
What's paramount for you if you're going to win the job?
GM: Showing that I can manage this offense. John Parker and I have pretty comparable styles. We're close in size, and I'm a little bit taller than him. The way we play the game is similar. I'm a little bit more of an intellectual quarterback as opposed to a gun-slinger. I take a lot of pride in my preparation, and the way I try to beat people is with my intelligence. So far it's allowed me to do some good things when I've gotten an opportunity to play. Hopefully, it will continue to do that.
Having been around the program for a while now, does that give you an advantage as far as knowing the offense?
GM: Coach (Jim) McElwain is my third offensive coordinator since I've been on campus. I'm used to during this time of year putting in a brand new offense and learning things day to day. But now that I've had a year under my belt with Coach McElwain, I feel much more prepared and that I know the offense as well as anybody. The way I study and the way I work and the way I understand -- not just my responsibilities in the offense, but every single person's responsibilities -- I take pride in knowing all those things. I think I understand exactly what Coach McElwain wants his quarterback to do, and that gives me a big heads up, not necessarily on my competition, but on what I've been used to the last couple of years.
Alabama leaned so heavily on its offensive line last year. With so many of those guys gone, does that change things for this offense?
GM: Losing guys like Andre (Smith), Antoine (Caldwell) and Marlon (Davis) will be difficult. But like Coach McElwain says, we have great players leaving, but we have good players returning who are more than capable. This offense may take on a little different mentality, and this offense may have a little different identity. But we're still going to be a tough, physical and ball-control offense. That's not going to change as long as Coach Saban and Coach McElwain are here. We're going to do what we want to do. We might not have the brute strength of a first-round pick like Andre Smith at left tackle. We might not have a three-year starter at center coming back, but we have very capable guys coming back and lot of confidence that we're going to be able to execute.
When all else fails, do you just throw it up for Julio Jones?
GM: I can tell you that having him on our side makes it a lot easier for any quarterback.
What did you think the first time you saw Jones play in person and how difficult he is to handle one-on-one?
GM: With my dad's position, I've been around professional football players my entire life. Just looking at Julio, I didn't get that jaw-dropping feeling. But when you see him play the game, with the tenacity and toughness that he plays with every time he's out there, he's just a phenomenal talent. He's a tremendous leader, works hard and is one of those guys you want on your side.
Are you and Star different types of quarterbacks?
GM: Star is obviously capable of running the ball when he has to, but I think our styles are sort of similar. He's a pass-first quarterback, and I'm a pass-first quarterback. We're both smart guys and understand what Coach Saban and Coach McElwain want us to do with the offense. Whoever runs the offense the best is going to be the quarterback.
How difficult is it walking that fine line between making a play and not forcing the issue, especially when you're trying to win a job?
GM: The more you play, the more comfortable you become in calling the shots out there. John Parker came in with the approach last year that he understood that he didn't have to carry the team on his shoulders. He knew he had great players around him and could control the ball and minimize his mistakes. Although it might be difficult and you're always looking for the big play, in most cases it's best to take what the defense gives you. Coach McElwain always says, 'Take what the defense gives you and eventually they'll give you the game.'
12:00 PM ET Florida Tennessee 12:00 PM ET 6 Texas A&M 12 Mississippi State 3:30 PM ET 3 Alabama 11 Ole Miss 4:00 PM ET Vanderbilt 13 Georgia 7:00 PM ET 15 LSU 5 Auburn 7:30 PM ET South Carolina Kentucky