University of Alabama

Alabama football coach Nick Saban says quarterback Greg McElroy has regained command

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Greg McElroy was the first to say something was off when playing Ole Miss and South Carolina.

By the Tennessee game, he was feeling better about almost every aspect of his performance although Alabama went without a touchdown in the 12-10 win.

Coach Nick Saban was also happy with the progress shown in his last outing and even compared it to another sport grabbing headlines this time of year.

“He had command of his pitches, if he was a baseball pitcher,” Saban said. “He was throwing the ball in the right place, he was throwing on time. He did a good job executing what he was supposed to do in the game.”

Saban also complimented McElroy’s ability to flush out the distractions that came with a few off-weeks. He completed 12-of-29 passes for 120 yards and no interceptions against Tennessee.

“Like I always say — and I told him this — it’s great to have tremendous success, but sometimes when you have success and you get a build-up, you also can get chopped down pretty easily,” Saban said.

Julio’s leap

Ultimately, it was Terrence Cody who wore the hero tag after blocking the last-second field goal attempt in Saturday’s 12-10 win over Tennessee. Looking at replays and still photos of the play, it’s safe to say Julio Jones had a shot at the ball if Cody had missed it.

Jones, the team’s leading receiver, towered over and behind the pile of players reaching for the ball.

Cody said Jones’ vertical leap was the talk of the team Sunday following the game.

“He probably could have jumped over a garage or a shed or something like that,” Cody said. “He was pretty high. … It was the highlight of the next day — how high Julio was.”

Blind block

As for his part in the block, Cody said he never saw the ball that he blocked.

“I actually reached my hand out and closed my eyes,” Cody said. “And I felt it hit my arm and I was like ‘Yes!’ ”

After cleaning up in the locker room, Cody said he went out to a local Tuscaloosa restaurant to eat with his family. While waiting for a table (yes, they made him wait), a “whole family of people” approached him for autographs and photos.

No looking back

Now at a lull in the season, Saban isn’t interested in reflecting on the season to this point.

When asked about a highlight through eight games, Saban balked.

“A highlight to me is tomorrow’s practice, what’s happening right now,” Saban said. “In my opinion, what I tell the team is you need to forget about all that and look forward. It’s not about where you’re ranked or what you’re record is or any of that stuff because we have a four-game season when we come back off of this bye week and we’ll play those games one game at a time.”

Throws ‘like a girl’

Tide punter P.J. Fitzgerald delivered the quote of the day in Tuesday’s conversation with reporters when asked about his fake punt against Ole Miss. Once a high school quarterback, Fitzgerald completed his only pass attempt of the season on a throw to Mark Barron on the fake.

Fitzgerald said he wasn’t really happy with the way he threw the ball. He even thought everyone else checked out of the fake based on the Ole Miss formation, but when he saw everyone else running the play, he sprung into action.

His pass was a little low, but Barron caught it and ran for the first down. Afterward, Fitzgerald said his girlfriend had a painful critique of the pass.

“She said I looked like a girl throwing it,” he said. “But hey, I’m 100 percent.”