Senior Bowl Day 2 Notebook
The second day of practices at the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl marked the first in full pads for both teams.
Although the clouds hovering over Ladd Peebles Stadium looked as if they were going to threaten to disrupt the schedule, both the North and South squads were able to complete their practices without delay.
The South squad's session featured a battle among a trio of talented quarterbacks, each facing different questions about their abilities at the next level.
Quarterbacks Look to Silence Their Critics
Greg McElroy prides himself on playing well under pressure. The Alabama quarterback feels the reason pressure doesn't faze him is because he puts himself under more scrutiny than anyone else ever could.
"I'm so hard on myself that I won't consider any practice a success unless I complete every pass," McElroy said. "Today was a good starting point, but there's still a lot of room for improvement."
When asked if playing in the SEC gave him an advantage over fellow South quarterbacks Christian Ponder of Florida State and Andy Dalton of TCU, McElroy said that they are all on an equal playing field at the Senior Bowl.
"It doesn't matter where you go to school because talent is everywhere," McElroy said. "Its about who can apply the techniques they learn in the meeting room and who can execute on the field."
In addition to facing some of the nation's best defenders, Ponder has had to deal with numerous questions about the status of a shoulder injury that cost him to miss games late in the season.
"I think the biggest thing for me is that everyone questions my health and all of the injuries," Ponder said. "I think for me to get in front of all of these coaches and scouts and show them that I am healthy is a great opportunity."
Dial Dialed in for Senior Bowl
Forgive Preston Dial if he's not interested in participating in any homecoming bashes this week. The Mobile native is instead focused on honing his skills for scouts and coaches at the next level.
"At this level, everybody is shooting to become a professional so everyone is trying to act like a professional," Dial said. "So they (coaches) shouldn't have to stay on our butt about anything. We are just trying to do our part and make sure that we know the playbook and everything else should take care of itself."
Dial found plenty of familiar foes when he looked at the defenders during Tuesday's practice. With three linebackers on the South roster from SEC schools, he found a sense of comfort in knowing their tendencies already from film study at Alabama.
However, there was one linebacker from a different conference that caught Dial's attention.
"Von Miller from Texas A&M definitely stood out," Dial said. "He's so slick and quick with his hands that it's a little different from going against guys like Pernell (McPhee) who I'm used to just banging heads with the whole time where you have to change your facemask at halftime. He's so smooth and fast and he's a heck of a player."
Carpenter Not Caught Off Guard by Surprise Move
Alabama offensive lineman James Carpenter did something in Tuesday's practice that he's never done in his career up to this point: play left guard.
"I'm way more comfortable at tackle, but if they want me to play guard I will with no problems," Carpenter said. "I just played left guard for the first time ever, so I think I did alright."
Carpenter didn't know he would be asked to make the move, but in doing so, he was able to showcase his versatility that should help him become a valuable commodity come draft time.
The Crimson Tide big man wasn't intimidated by the level of competition he was going against. After all, he faced a pretty strong group of pass rushers every day in practice during his career at Alabama.
"Courtney Upshaw and Marcell Dareus helped me out a lot," Carpenter said. "Going against guys like that every day prepared me a game like this."