Spring game player quotes & game pics

Alabama Spring A-Day 2010

Alabama Spring A-Day 2010 Photo by UA Media Relations

Alabama Spring A-Day 2010 Photo

Alabama Spring A-Day 2010 Photo by UA Media Relations

Here are comments from Alabama Crimson Tide players Greg McElroy, Marcel Dareus and Mark Ingram. Transcript courtesy of UA:
Quarterback Greg McElroy
On the different offensive weapons Alabama has:
“We got a bunch of (offensive weapons). We have a bunch of players who are willing to step up and make plays at any given time. That’s what’s encouraging. I trust one of our other receivers as much as I trust Julio to make a big play in a third down and long situation. I can’t say that’s always been the case, but I think that’s the unity we have as a group after the time spent together both in the offseason and throughout last season. We really have made some good strides.”

On getting the ball to the running backs through the passing game:
“Our checkdowns have always been a staple of our offense. Trent, Mark or Eddie, Demetruis any of those guys, if you get the ball in their hands they will make plays for you. We did that a couple of times last year. I remember one vividly versus North Texas where it was a quick checkdown because everyone dropped out and Mark turned it into a big touchdown run. Everyone ooh’s and aah’s at the long passes, but if you average four yards per carry everyone says you have a great running game but if you throw a four-yard completion to the running back – which is essentially a segmentation of the running game – it can add up pretty quick.”

On seeing former backups take a more prominent role:
“I’m excited. I think they’re obviously in the same situation this year as we were last year as an offense. It’s not because they haven’t been talented enough or they haven’t been ready to play, they were just younger than the great players in front of them. They are just waiting for their opportunity to step up and make plays. They have done a good job all spring making plays in the passing game and the running game. I think with our abilities as an offense we have the ability to be very potent, so when they are able to shut us down as much as they do, that obviously speaks highly for them. I know they will continue to improve because of who coaches them and I look forward to continuing to see them develop.”

On what Mark Ingram has done to improve:
“I think he has just committed himself to being more of a leader and being vocal. Obviously, physically there are very few people out there as gifted as Mark, so when it comes to physical improvement, he can make it but how much improvement can you make at this level? As opposed to that he has just done a great job stepping up and being vocal and getting other guys to feel positively about what we do and feel strongly about what we do. Mark’s an extremely hardworking guy he worked really hard in the offseason.”

Junior Defensive Lineman Marcell Dareus
General thoughts:
“It was OK. I think the defense as a whole did pretty good. We held the offense pretty well. All the weapons we have on offense, as a defense we did pretty good. We came together and played pretty well.”

On whether or not the game was going to end in a tie:
“No. Coach was not fixing to let that happen. Somebody is going to eat beans. That’s why he did a mini-overtime thing, the first team that scored wins.”

On being able to start after having a big spring:
“After working so hard and having to sit behind the starters and learning from them and putting it together for this spring and working my butt off, it is pretty exciting.”

On the cohesiveness of the defense:
“We still have a long way to go but as a defense we are gelling together, we are really coming together as a whole. Hightower is getting our defense together and rallying us up. Courtney Upshaw, we all sit and talk and try to get our defense going.”

On Dont’a Hightower’s performance:
“Of course I watched him play. I watch him every day to make sure he is OK. He’s a teammate and a team leader. I don’t want him to be timid behind me. We talk about that a lot. Dante is a player, he plays hard every down, play in and play out, he’s just that type of person.”

On being a leader:
“It feels good. It is kind of prestigious when they look up to me like that. I’m pretty overwhelmed.”

Running Back Mark Ingram
On other players being in the spotlight:
“I don’t mind that at all. I’m glad other players are getting their chance to shine. Marcell (Dareus) and Trent (Richardson) and Greg (McElroy) and A.J. (McCarron), everybody deserves their time. My main focus is getting better as a player and helping this team win games.”

On what he has learned about this team:
“We’re young and we’re hungry. We have lots of players all over the field that can make plays, offensively, defensively, special teams. We have lots of athletes. Last year we were good but I think this year we can be better. We have a lot of talent all over the field, young guys that are hungry trying to prove themselves, and older players that know what they are doing and what it takes to win. I think once we mesh all that together we should be alright.”

Thoughts about the game:
“Yeah, I think everybody should be happy with where we’re at, but they shouldn’t be satisfied with where we’re at because there is lots of improvements that we can make as players. We have a real good team this year.”

On the overtime decision:
“We were just going to play until somebody won, so that was kind of unfortunate. Whatever I can do to help the team win. I am not selfish. “