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April 13, 2011

Notebook: McElroy lends a hand

TUSCALOOSA | Greg McElroy's initial plans for Wednesday looked like this:

1) Workout for New York Giants
2) Lunch
3) Golf

Helping an automobile accident victim wasn't on the list, but somewhere between a round of passes for the NFL's Giants and a round of golf at NorthRiver Yacht Club, that's exactly situation in which the former University of Alabama quarterback found himself.

McElroy and former Alabama walk-on quarterback Chris Vines came upon an overturned car at the intersection of 15th Street and Hackberry Lane around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and stopped to aid a young female who was trapped in the car at one of Tuscaloosa's busiest intersections.

"When we got up there, there was still a girl in the car, and it was on its side. She's standing through the passenger-side window, and her feet were through the driver's-side window,' McElroy said. 'We just pulled her out. The guy driving the car helped too. But it's not something you want recognition for. That's something I think anyone should do. It's not like I had anywhere pressing to be, or had any type of appointment. I had nothing but time. I wouldn't have been able to look myself in the mirror if I hadn't stopped and tried to help and see if there was anything I could do."

McElroy said they first attempted to open the door, but the door had been the point of impact and was jammed shut, requiring them to pull the victim through the window. Paramedics and a fire truck were on the scene shortly after. McElroy said the girl appeared unhurt.

"She was shaking, really quivering, and obviously really scared,' McElroy said. 'But once we got her out she calmed down a little."

From there, McElroy and Vines headed to the course, arriving 10 minutes late for their tee time, where McElroy shot a 49-42-91.
It wasn't the best of rounds, including an eight on a single hole on the front nine, and a pair of triple-bogeys. But earlier in the morning, the round that counted most turned out significantly better.

"I'm throwing the ball confidently, spinning it good. Accuracy and velocity have been good as well,' McElroy said. 'I haven't had any concerns or complaints and I've been pretty well-reviewed up to this point."

McElroy had commitments from nine NFL scouts and coaches for his personal workout on April 5, but due to weather conditions that canceled flights, only representatives from the Seattle Seahawks attended. Since then, McElroy has traveled to Dallas to work out for the Cowboys, and hosted the Philadelphia Eagles (Tuesday) and Giants (Wednesday) for workouts in Tuscaloosa. He's also met with the Miami Dolphins for an interview, but has no further workouts scheduled.

"The Steelers, the Colts, probably three or four teams called just to confirm my draft-day phone number and ask me some personal questions,' McElroy said. 'But as far as workouts go, nobody has scheduled another one with me going forward. I think teams are in their draft meetings already and trying to get organized."

Various draft services have projected McElroy as anywhere from a fourth- to sixth-round draft choice.

Longtime adversaries
UA center William Vlachos couldn't even begin to figure it out.

The subject was the longtime competition between he and nose guard Josh Chapman that dates back to middle-school football, on to high school, where Vlachos' Mountain Brook team played against Chapman's Hoover squad, and finally to UA, where the two have battled head-to-head in practice countless times.

"There's no telling how many times our heads have collided. I really can't remember,' Vlachos said. 'We're built pretty similar. Neither of us have the advantage over the other. He's a really good player. He's certainly made me better over the years."

Both current starters, the two have been at Alabama since 2007, UA coach Nick Saban's first season at the Capstone. Both played sparingly enough as freshmen that they were granted redshirts, and in the years since, they have steadily increased their respective playing time. When Vlachos takes his last look at the football before a snap in practice, it's usually Chapman lined up just inches across from him, ready for yet another collision. And of Saturday, if the typical A-Day format that matches the first offense against the first defense, they'll be colliding on play after play once again.

"Vlachos is one of those guys who will compete all day long. He feels he can't be beat and he's going to work every day -- day-in and day-out," Chapman said. "Our one-on-one battles are just like -- I mean we go at it like there is no other. It's like a ball game. We don't like to lose against each other. Every day we say we're better than the other. In the weight room to off the field. He's like my brother from another mother."

For all their competitiveness, however, Vlachos said trash-talking isn't an element of their daily practice encounters.

"We don't. We're not really friends on the field but off the field we're very good friends," Vlachos said. "He's a great guy. We've always gotten along. He's really improved a lot in the spring, become a leader and gotten in really good shape. I'm expecting a big year from him."

Quotable
"(Nick) Genry has stood out the most to me. ... He's probably the best pass rusher we have as an interior lineman. He doesn't get a lot of credit, but he pushes me and he pushes everybody else. We've been here the longest and he's one of the leaders on the defensive line." - Josh Chapman on teammate Nick Gentry.

Tidebits
The squad that wins on A-Day will eat steak Saturday night, while the squad that loses will eat beans. According to Chapman, he has never lost on A-Day and expects to be eating steak for the fourth consecutive year. "I like it medium-well," said Chapman, a senior. ... Alabama practices for the final time before A-Day this afternoon. A-Day, scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, marks the end of spring drills.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase.goodbread@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0196.


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