Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama, SEC lead in Senior bowl


Alabama sent three of its top seniors – tight end Preston Dial, offensive lineman James Carpenter and quarterback Greg McElroy – to the 2011 Senior Bowl Saturday in Mobile. The Crimson Tide’s players were three of the 22 SEC players in participating in the game – more than any other conference at the game.

The SEC’s majority within the Senior Bowl is nothing new. In the past five years, the SEC has brought a total of 114 student athletes to the game. Thirteen of the SEC’s players have won a national championship during the course of their careers, seven have landed on All-American lists and 17 were named to All-SEC squads. The SEC’s talent was a major factor in the South’s 24-10 victory over the North team.

When all the Alabama players we asked about the talent in the SEC contributing to the South’s win, each had the same answer: “We won, didn’t we?”

And while the winning is nothing new to the SEC, for players like Dial, it’s a little uncomfortable having your old adversaries in the SEC become your teammates on the South’s Senior Bowl team.

“It’s different, but once you get out there in the heat of battle, you just focus on who’s in front of you,” Dial said. “But it is different when I look over, and I see big Lee Ziemba sitting there smiling at me. And Kristofer O’Dowd from USC. It was a big adjustment, but it was a lot of fun.”

During the game, McElroy had 36 passing yards, going 5-for-8. And in the midst of blocking for his teammates, Dial had one catch for 5 yards, while Carpenter continued to execute consistently on the offensive line.

“It was real exciting playing at the Senior Bowl with all these good players,” Carpenter said. “It was an honor. Me, Greg and Preston, we had some real good days over here and finished it off with a good game.”

Even though McElroy left the game early in the fourth quarter after a sack that left him with a cracked bone in his hand, the South team’s coaching staff saw potential in the quarterback who hopes to someday play in the NFL.

“I worked with Greg directly, and I thought he did a nice job,” said Buffalo Bills quarterbacks coach George Cortez. “He banged his thumb up in the game, but you know he did a nice job for us. If they are here, they have potential.”

But the Buffalo Bills coaching staff wasn’t the only NFL affiliate analyzing the players. The Senior Bowl practices were attended by over 800 general managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, scouts and other front-office personnel from the 32 NFL teams. After a full week of weigh-ins, interviews and practices, all preparing the athletes for the draft for the players, the game was the most fun part of the experience at the Senior Bowl.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Dial said. “It’s been a lot of fun, a lot of learning – not a huge adjustment, but there has been some. There’s been a lot of great players out here, but I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve had a really good time being back at home.”

Alabama’s ties with the Senior Bowl dates far back. The Tide has four players on the All-Time Senior Bowl team, including quarterback Joe Namath, tight end Ozzie Newsome, linebacker Lee Roy Jordan and linebacker Derrick Thomas.

The only other schools coming close to Alabama’s presence in the All-Time Senior Bowl team are Michigan State and Auburn with two players each.

The South currently leads the overall series with 30 wins against the North’s 26 victories, and there have been three ties between the two teams.

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