2013 UAB Spring Football Analysis
UAB Blazers 2013 ...
Head Coach: Garrick McGee
Why To Get Excited … the backfield returns intact for second-year head coach Garrick McGee. In 2012, the Blazers employed a rookie quarterback, Austin Brown, who responded with a foundation-building 15 touchdown passes and 2,673 yards through the air. RB Darrin Reaves bloomed into an unlikely feature back, rushing for more than 100 yards in three of the final five games to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark. He’s working to be even more effective between the tackles than he was last fall.
8/31 at Troy
9/7 at LSU
9/14 OPEN DATE
9/21 Northwestern State
9/28 at Vanderbilt
10/5 Florida Atlantic
10/12 at FIU
10/19 OPEN DATE
10/26 at UTSA
11/2 Middle Tennessee
11/9 at Marshall
11/16 at East Carolina
11/30 Southern Miss
Why To Be Grouchy … there’s serious cause for concern about both UAB lines. Just how bad was the situation last season? The Blazers stood 82nd nationally in sacks and 116th in sacks allowed. That leaky offensive line, by the way, needs to replace First Team All-Conference USA T Chris Hubbard. While it’s not easy for this second-tier program to attract quality linemen in SEC country, the staff has to uncover new ways to transform two-star recruits into steady blockers.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … making more plays in pass defense. When you’re UAB, you have to dominate turnover margin in order to compensate for a gap in talent versus most opponents. However, a year ago, the Blazers picked off only six passes, despite being thrown on 356 times. CB Lamarcus Farmer and safeties Calvin Jones and Jake Ganus earned playing time in 2012. This fall, they need to earn the respect of opposing receivers.
Non-Conference Games: at Troy, at LSU, Northwestern State, at Vanderbilt
Games Against the West: Rice, at UTSA
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 3-9
Likely Finish: 6-6
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Florida Atlantic, Northwestern State, at UTSA, Middle Tennessee, Rice, Southern Miss
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Troy, at LSU, at Vanderbilt, at FIU, at Marshall, at East Carolina, Rice
Schedule Analysis: Just get through the first half. Five of the first seven games are on the road, and while there’s no chance to hang around with LSU and beating Vanderbilt would be a major upset, Troy, FIU and UTSA are all going to be winnable and getting Northwestern State and Florida Atlantic at home will pad the win total. It’ll take something special to beat either Marshall or East Carolina in the back-to-back November road games, but the Blazers might come up with a winning record if they can win two out of three home games against Middle Tennessee, Rice and Southern Miss.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Blazers have to be better on the offensive front and the defense has to be far tougher against the run. The O line was last in the league in sacks allowed and did nearly nothing for the running game, while the defense gave up way too many big plays getting torched time and again while finishing last in the league in pass efficiency defense. The punt coverage team wasn't a prize netting a mere 33.5 yards per try, even though Hunter Mullins ranked 12th in the nation averaging 44.8 yards a boot.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receiver. After working on the skill positions a few years ago, UAB needs more firepower for down the road. However, JUCO transfer DeVante Scott is being brought in to be a No. 1 target right away, but J.J. Green, Greg Maclin and Adrian Kirkland are bodies to develop. Tight end Korey Cunningham has excellent size and the upside to be a safety-valve receiver.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
87. That Class Was Heavy On ... Kickers. After two big classes and working on the skill positions last year, UAB got a little bit of everything without loading up on any one spot. JUCO transfers Lamar Johnson and Calvin Jones will be used right away in the secondary, and some big prospects, led by the 6-3, 343-pound Uneik Crumbley, are brought in for the line. Apparently, though, one of the big concerns is Josh Zahn, the team’s placekicker who followed up a 14-of-21 2009 with a 7-of-17 field goal 2010 season. Kickers Colin Anderson and Ty Long were brought into provide a challenge. Considering six games last year were decided by five points or fewer, a good kicker is a must.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 108. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Skill players.
The offense was Joe Webb, Joe Webb, and Joe Webb
last year, and now there's an immediate infusion of
talent to try to change that with seven wide
receivers, four of them from the JUCO ranks, led by
big Darnell Williams; the team's instant No. 1
target. Five running backs, including two JUCO
transfers, were brought in, while the star should be
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 96. That Class Was
Heavy On ... safeties. Of the 24 new Blazers signed by Neil Callaway, a big portion is projected as safeties once they arrive in Birmingham. That’s not such a bad thing, considering last year’s starters, Will Dunbar and Matt Taylor, were seniors. The two junior-college transfers, Hiram Atwater and Elliott McGaskin, should be ready to compete right away, and David Conner was good enough to get mail from Auburn, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State.
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