2011 Senior Bowl Media Night Notebook
The 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl got underway with practices yesterday afternoon and a session with the media at the pavilion of the USS Alabama.
Alabama and Auburn were represented with three players each on the South squad. Quarterback Greg McElroy, tight end Preston Dial, and offensive lineman James Carpenter make up the trio for the Crimson Tide, while Auburn sent safety Zac Etheridge, linebacker Josh Bynes, and offensive linemen Lee Ziemba.
Troy wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan is present, but not participating in the game due to injury.
McElroy takes Center Stage
In a crowd filled with the best college football players in the country, it was still easily apparent as to which players were most in demand for the media members.
Greg McElroy is used to attention being the quarterback of the home state Crimson Tide, however, he insists that the hype surrounding the Senior Bowl won't detract him from his mission of getting better each day.
"I think pressure, while it can be created by a situation, is more intrinsic than people give it credit for," McElroy said. "I put more pressure on myself everyday whether its practice at Alabama, in high school, or here. I just want to be the best and that's my mindset and that's what I want to accomplish."
McElroy has already interviewed with scouts from several teams and they have offered thoughts on what they feel are his strengths and weaknesses at the next level.
"I think I need to work on my footwork," McElroy said. "I throw on rhythm so I'm not the best at creating when things break down so those are things I'm working on. I also want to showcase my arm strength and show that I can make all of the throws."
While this experience is more of a business trip for the players, McElroy hasn't lost of sense of humor, in small part due to rooming this week with his college roommate, Preston Dial.
"I'm going to trash his (Preston's) side of the room if I get a chance," McElroy said. "He said if I come over there, he's going to punch me. He's one of my best friends so its cool to be here with him."
He also shared a light-hearted moment with a foe he's gone against the last four years. As the interview was being conducted, Auburn safety Zac Etheridge walked by and then rubbed McElroy's head in a moment that made everyone chuckle.
"Alright, kiddo," McElroy said with a laugh.
Bynes Done Celebrating, Focusing on Finding a Job
Josh Bynes was smiling throughout the entire evening. The former Auburn linebacker is soaking up the experience of playing in the Senior Bowl.
"Its been a great experience playing with top-notch guys and building a connection with people from across the nation," Bynes said. "It's a job interview for each and every one of us here."
He helped Auburn cap a dream season capped off by winning a national championship two weeks ago. However, Bynes has managed to focus his attention on the next chapter of his football career.
"I'm not too wrapped up with the National Championship because that was two weeks ago," Bynes said. "I have to focus on what I have to do now and that's to take care of business and make sure that I have a job on somebody's NFL team next year."
Bynes has met with various representatives from NFL teams, and according to them there's one main concern they have in his abilities at the next level.
"They want to see me run east and west and I think I'm definitely capable of that and showing that I can play middle linebacker in the NFL," Bynes said.
Lewis excited to Coach Next Generation of NFL Stars.
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is excited to be around the next wave of talent that will usher into the league for next season. Lewis is the coach for the North squad in 2011's Senior Bowl.
"It's a good chance to get to know the kids a little better," Lewis said. "Through the meetings, we have a chance to review things on video after practice each day and make the corrections and see how they adjust."
Although Lewis will get an up close and personal view of all of the players on his squad, he said its not as big of a factor as many would seem to think.
"You get limited time on how much time you can spend with each prospect," Lewis said. "We will spend some time down here with guys so that means we won't have to spend it in Indianapolis (during the NFL combine), so that would be the only advantage."
With the Bengals coming off of a 4-12 season, Lewis finds himself dealing with more than just evaluating draft prospects. Carson Palmer, the team's starting quarterback, went public with his demand for a trade.
Lewis acknowledged that he has spoken to Palmer after the season concluded, however he didn't want to focus on that matter this week.