Greg McElroy ready for challenge

PASADENA, CA (WSFA) - The irony of Greg McElroy, a Texas native, helping Alabama win its first national championship since 1992 against the Longhorns is not lost on this junior quarterback.

"I'd really love to obviously knock off the Texas jinx and get our first win in eight tries," McElroy said.

McElroy spoke Monday morning to reporters in Pasadena about life as a Texas native playing in Alabama and having the chance to beat Texas to win a national championship.

"As a Texas kid that has really accepted Alabama as his home, It would be a great opportunity," McElroy said. "I'd love to obviously make our name in history, but obviously we're just going to have to go out there and play a really good ballgame in order to do that."

He compared the frenzy surrounding this game and football in both states.

"Texas and Alabama football are the bloodlines of the state," McElroy said. "They're the heartbeats through Austin and Texas and the heartbeats through Tuscaloosa and Alabama."

McElroy remembered his days as a high school quarterback in Texas, playing in front of 15,000 to 40,000 fans each Friday night, but said playing in front of hundreds of thousands of Alabama fans on college football Saturdays was unlike anything he's ever been a part of.

"I've only witnessed one game, one Alabama game as a non-player, and that was the 2006 Cotton Bowl," McElroy said. "Being able to see the pageantry and things that people care about throughout Alabama really makes playing here really special."

McElroy is hoping to end his junior year with a win Thursday night, continuing his undefeated streak as a starter. He knows, though, he will need to be focused against a tough Texas defense.

"It's a challenge to play good against any good defense," McElroy said. "It's difficult, and they're going to put their best foot forward and make things difficult for me as a quarterback."

McElroy said Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will have the Longhorns prepared.

"Coach Muschamp does a great job in their scheme in confusing quarterbacks, and obviously they have great talent and speed around," McElroy said. "They fly around the ball and they make things difficult for opposing quarterbacks."

Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain said he's enjoyed watching McElroy progress through the season, especially during the middle of the season when McElroy struggled.

"I think that that was an interesting little three-game stretch where we all kind of sat back and kind of reevaluated what direction we were going a little bit," McElwain said. "It's a credit to Greg how he approached it and did a great job of still managing the situation while going forward with what we needed to do offensively. I can't say how proud I am of what has come out of it."