TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy's collegiate career will extend one game beyond the Capital One Bowl after he accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl on Wednesday.
Also playing in the game Jan. 29th at Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium (3 p.m. NFL Network) will be tight end Preston Dial and left tackle James Carpenter. A Senior Bowl official confirmed that no other Crimson Tide players are under consideration to be a late roster addition.
"It's a great opportunity to not only showcase yourself but showcase the institution that you played for," said McElroy, who's attended the last four Senior Bowls on his own.
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"One thing I appreciate with the Senior Bowl is that it really does honor and give an opportunity to the guys who have been there, and honestly, quite frankly, if juniors were available for an all-star game such as the Senior Bowl there probably wouldn't be an opportunity for a guy like myself."
The three are the first confirmed players for the game. Players begin reporting to Mobile on Jan. 22nd.
"Being able to compete on the field with some of the best quarterbacks that will give me an opportunity to showcase my abilities from a physical standpoint ad just kind of see where I stand," McElroy continued. "That's really all I can ask for is an opportunity."
"I think (he'll) go down as being one of the players wearing the Crimson Tide jersey that will be well remembered for a long time," Senior Bowl president and CEO Steve Hale said.
While the Senior Bowl is considered the premier all-star game the preceding week of workouts are considered more important with players working under the direction of NFL coaches, before scouts and official from every team.
"I don't think a lot of people understand the magnitude of this game and the opportunity it provides," Dial, a Mobile native, said in a release. "I think this will be my 19th Senior Bowl to attend and I'm just extremely happy about the opportunity to play in it this time around."
McElroy's recovered from concussion
McElroy said that he no longer feels the effects of the concussion sustained against Auburn on Nov. 26.
"I realized that I had never had an experience like that," he said. "I feel 100 percent now.
"There were about three or four days there I didn't feel like myself. I was frustrated because I really couldn't converse, really with anybody."
Among the symptoms he described were nausea, sleeplessness, being unable to articulate particular words like he wanted and "didn't feel as sharp" as usual.
"It was a very confusing feeling, a very difficult feeling, being unable to express myself with my words," the SEC football scholar-athlete of the year said.
Sources tell BamaOnline that linebackers coach Sal Sunseri has not been contacted by Florida, and the chances of his taking a job that isn't a clear step up are about none. New Gators coach Will Muschamp told reporters after his press conference Tuesday night not to expect the coaching staff to be announced until after the Outback Bowl.
"There's one source in this football program, and that's me,'' Muschamp said. "There's one guy hiring coaches and that's me, okay, so nobody has been offered a job.''
Miami (Ohio) Michael Haywood, a former Nick Saban assistant, is reportedly the leading candidate at Pitt and an offer may soon be forthcoming.
OwlScoop.com lists Temple head coaching candidates: Frank Cignetti; Paul Guenther; Matt Rhule; Bob Davie. Cignetti, the current Pitt offensive coordinator, is the brother of Curt Cignetti, the Alabama receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Recordpub.com, which covers the area surrounding Kent, reported that on-campus interviews are underway at Kent State and Curt Cignetti appears to be a finalist.
"A KSU official said Cignetti has not made two trips to the Kent campus, as has been previously reported on the Internet. It is likely, however, that two meetings have taken place. One in another city during KSU's exploratory meetings with its initial list of candidates and then a second time as an official interview in Kent."
The other two finalists are believed to be between Ohio State assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell, Texas wide receivers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator Bobby Kennedy and West Virginia offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen.
Texas' "preferred qualifications" for the offensive coordinator opening are five years of experience at a Division I-A school, with some of that coming at a BCS conference school, and some NFL coaching experience. That doesn't appear to fit the qualifications of former Alabama offensive coordinator Major Applewhite.
Tide gets top viewing
According to Street & Smith's Sports Business Daily, the Nov. 26 Auburn-Alabama game on CBS was this season's most-viewed telecast on any network, earning a 7.3 rating and 12.5 million viewers.
Alabama had four of the top-10 rated games, but ratings were down for most networks this season. Here's the top-10 list including date, network, teams, time slot, rating and viewers per millions (rounded up):
Nov. 26, CBS, Auburn-Alabama, 2:30 pm, 7.3, 12.5
Dec. 4, CBS, SEC Championship: Auburn-South Carolina, 4:00 pm, 6.0, 10.1
Sept. 6, ESPN, Boise State-Virginia Tech, 7:58 pm, 6.3, 9.9
Dec. 4, ABC, Big 12 Championship: Nebraska-Oklahoma, 8:07 pm, 5.3, 9.0
Oct. 2, CBS, Florida-Alabama, 8:00 pm, 5.0, 8.6
Nov. 13, CBS, Georgia-Auburn, 3:40 pm, 5.0, 8.3
Nov. 27, ABC, (regional), 8:06 pm, 4.9, 8.3
Sept. 25, CBS, Alabama-Arkansas, 3:30 pm, 5.2, 8.2
Nov. 26, ESPN, Arizona-Oregon, 7:22 pm, 4.5, 7.8
Oct. 9, CBS, Alabama-South Carolina, 3:30 pm, 4.8, 7.7
The Crimson Tide will return to the practice field on Thursday to begin preparations for the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State on Jan. 1. Saban is expected to meet with reporters later than evening. "It feels like a lifetime we've been off," McElroy said. "I'm looking forward to shaking the rust off." Alabama will practice every day through Dec. 22 before breaking for the holidays and reporting in Orlando on Christmas night. All practices are closed to the public.
Although Alabama will hold a two-a-day Friday, Saban apparently won't be at the evening workout because he'll be the guest speaker for the Shrine Bowl banquet in Spartanburg, S.C. The event was scheduled in August.
McElroy on Alabama's prominent junior trio of Julio Jones, Marcell Dareus and Mark Ingram all possibly going pro: "I think if I were in a situation where I was going to be a top-ten pick, I think it would so hard to turn down, especially with the lack of certainty of what could happen, the injuries, the possibilities," he said. ESPN's Mel Kiper's latest Big Board has Jones rated ninth overall, Dareus 10th and Ingram, ironically, at No. 22.
With SEC officials obviously unable to work the national championship game, the Big Ten has drawn the assignment. Last year, Big East officials worked Alabama's victory over Texas and enforced different substitution rules than what the Crimson Tide was accustomed to.