published Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Greg McElroy returning to SEC as studio analyst

  • photo
    Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy waves to fans after defeating Michigan State 49-7 in the 2011 Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy predicted this past week that the Crimson Tide would lose at LSU this year, resulting in a drop in popularity among some of the Tide faithful.

McElroy threw for 5,691 yards with 39 touchdowns and 10 interceptions at Alabama, leading the Tide to a 14-0 record and a BCS title in 2009. After spending two seasons with the New York Jets and last year on the reserve squad of the Cincinnati Bengals, he retired from the NFL in March and joined the SEC Network.

A fixture this past week at SEC media days, McElroy was a guest on "Press Row" on Chattanooga's ESPN 105.1 The Zone.

Q: What will your role be with the SEC Network?

A: "At this point, they've basically made it known that I will be a studio analyst, so I am excited about that opportunity. I'm just excited to be back in college football. It's where my heart has been. The NFL was a good experience, but this is where I feel like I'm supposed to be."

Q: You were polished in the way you handled interviews after games in Tuscaloosa. Is this something you knew you wanted to delve into?

A: "To tell you the truth, I didn't. I majored in marketing and got my master's degree in sports management, so this was something I was not anticipating. I wanted to play in the NFL but didn't know how long it would last.

"I had a start in the NFL. I had a touchdown pass, an interception and a fumble, so I did everything I wanted to do."

Q: And you ruffled some feathers after your first season when you publicized the Jets having a selfish locker room, did you not?

A: "That was next on the checklist. That certainly was not intentional but more me being candid, which is maybe why I've been able to make this transition a little more smoothly."

Q: I've always said Nick Saban's greatest win at Alabama in terms of impact was the rout of Florida in the 2009 SEC title game. Would you agree?

A: "I would, but I think there are two. Beating Georgia in the 'Blackout' game in '08 let us know that we could compete on the national level. They were a top-three team, and that allowed us to springboard into the next season knowing that we could contend.

"Once we got over that hump against Florida, naturally that proved to us that we could win a national championship. It also let us know what can happen when you play up to the standard of excellence that you're capable of. I know that is verbatim how Nick Saban would phrase it, but it's true."

Q: What was your worst game at Alabama?

A: "The [2010] loss at South Carolina."

Q: Can you describe Rex Ryan in three words?

A: "Great, great guy. When you think of the personality Steve Spurrier brings to this event, I think Rex Ryan is the only guy who could rival that."

Q: What was the maddest Saban ever got at you?

A: "Probably after I threw my first career touchdown. I forced one to Nick Walker into the back of the end zone on a short, play-action pass, and the fullback, Baron Huber, was wide open. I still get grief from skipping over my number one read."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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