2008 CFN UAB Preview
2008 UAB Offense Preview
- 2008 UAB Defense Preview
2008 UAB Depth Chart
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about Conference USA football?
Head coach: Neil Callaway
2nd year: 2-10
Off. 22, Def. 20, ST. 3
Lettermen Lost: 22
Ten Best UAB Players
1. FS Will Dunbar, Sr.
2. LB Joe Henderson, Sr.
3. QB Joseph Webb, Jr.
4. K/P Swayze Waters, Sr.
5. WR Frantrell Forrest, Soph.
6. CB Kevin Sanders, Sr.
7. OL Jake Seitz, Jr.
8. DT D.J. Reese, Soph.
9. WR Mario Wright, Soph.
10. LB Mike Tashman, Soph.
CFN Prediction: 2-10
2008 Record: 0-0
Aug. 30 Tulsa
Sept. 6 at Florida Atlantic
Sept. 13 at Tennessee
Sept. 20 Alabama State
Sept. 27 at South Carolina
Oct. 2 Memphis
Oct. 11 at Houston
Oct. 18 Marshall
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE
Nov. 1 at Southern Miss
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 15 at Tulane
Nov. 22 East Carolina
Nov. 29 at UCF
CFN Prediction: 2-10
Sept. 1 at
Michigan St L 55-18
Sept. 8 at
Florida State L 34-24
Sept. 29 at
Tulsa L 38-30
Miss State L 30-13
Houston L 49-10
East Carolina L 41-6
Southern Miss L 37-7
Memphis L 25-9
Marshall L 46-39
Now that the storm of last season’s debacle has passed, head coach Neil
Callaway can move on to the next phase of his extreme makeover in
2007 Fun Stats:
The Blazers were too young and too thin to compete effectively in 2007,
winning just two games and slipping noticeably as the season progressed.
All of that youth, however, is now a year older, and Callaway padded
his second recruiting class with 11 junior college players that should
be able to contribute right away. It’s unlikely to show up in the final
standings, but UAB figures to be in a better position to hold its ground
this year versus the rest of Conference USA.
The Blazers understand that their rebuilding blueprint won’t materialize
overnight, so this fall is about creating momentum and a positive
atmosphere, while weaving some of the JUCO transfers into the two-deep.
With QB Sam Hunt out of eligibility, versatile Joseph Webb has a chance
to lock down the starting job and emerge into one of the team leaders.
Much like a year ago, there aren’t going to be many slam dunks on a
non-conference schedule that includes games with Tennessee, South
Carolina, and Sun Belt champion Florida Atlantic.
watch for on offense:
Topping Callaway’s list of offensive priorities is to improve a running
game that was last in the league a year ago. The coach is keeping his
fingers crossed that Aaron Johns, a gifted former Alabama running back,
can qualify academically after missing the mark last season. Webb
offers some interesting options, both as a strong-armed passer and a
scrambler on designed running plays. He’ll have no shortage of quality
targets. Frantrell Forrest led the team with 49 receptions as a
freshman, Mike Jones tore it up in the spring, and Roddell Carter is
physical junior college transfers capable of contributing immediately.
Jake Seitz anchors a young line that pass blocked unexpectedly well, but
needs to step it up in run blocking.
What to watch for on defense: Underclassmen were everywhere last
year, which should start to pay dividends this season. The Blazers got
shoved around by every opponent not named Alcorn State, prompting
Callaway to demand more physicality in the front seven. UAB does return
its best player, all-league S Will Dunbar, who could have left for the
NFL. A sure-tackling playmaker that paced the team with 122 stops, he’s
the leader of a vulnerable secondary. The Blazers other building blocks
will be ends Bryant Turner and Joe Happe, linebackers Joe Henderson and
Mike Tashman, and CB Kevin Sanders, all of whom showed flashes of
productivity in 2007.
The team will be far better if … the defensive line does a much
better job at the point of attack. Now matter the program, it all
starts up front, which has been a problem for UAB the past two seasons.
The unit has done little to pressure opposing quarterbacks or stuff the
run, negating some of the defense’s best talent in the back seven.
The Schedule: As if UAB isn't already battling to get out of the doldrums, it gets
tagged with the West's two best projected teams, Tulsa and Houston. On a
warped plus side, the Southern Miss and UCF games were probably losses
anyway, so they might as well be on the road. Getting Memphis Marshall
and East Carolina at home should bring at least one win and possibly two
upsets, but those are hardly two-foot putts. A trip to Florida Atlantic
won't be a breather, and forget about September dates at Tennessee and
Best Offensive Player: Junior QB Joseph Webb. On an offense
that’s craving an identity, Webb is the exciting, multi-dimensional
talent that UAB needs at this time. After sharing time with Sam Hunt
and catching 30 passes as a part-time receiver in 2007, he delivered the
type of spring that left no doubts about where he’ll be lining up the
next two years. Webb has the arm strength and escapability to blossom
into an instant star by Conference USA standards.
Best Defensive Player: Senior S Will Dunbar. If there’s a
current Blazer that’ll be playing on Sundays in 2009, it’ll be Dunbar.
Coming off the best season of his career, he’s proven to be a three-tool
free safety that can defend the run, cover the pass, and rarely be in
the wrong spot on the field. With a couple more Dunbars on defense,
head coach Neil Callaway wouldn’t have so many sleepless nights during
Key player to a successful season: Webb. The defense lacks the
depth and size to hold up in a Conference USA that’s fast becoming the
new WAC. It’s going to allow a lot of yards and a lot of points. If
UAB is going to make a positive step in 2008, it’ll need the offense to
take the lead. That means Webb will have to be special, making plays in
every imaginable way and getting the ball in the hands of an underrated
corps of young receivers.
The season will be a success if ... the Blazers are more
competitive in conference play. UAB is not going to sniff a bowl
invite, so what that means in terms of wins and losses isn’t the central
issue. Unlike last season, when the wheels came off in October and
November, the program needs to improve as the season grinds on, as
opposed to the opposite. Of course, an upset along the way to rally
around couldn’t hurt.
Key game: Oct. 2 vs. Memphis. Aside from the breather with
Alabama State on Sept. 20, the visit from Memphis will be the Blazers’
best chance to win a game in the first half of the season. Plus, it’s a
televised Thursday night affair that’ll give Callaway and his kids a
wider audience to show the progress they’ve made since last year.
- Third down conversions: Opponents 63 of 148 (43%) – UAB 48 of 149
- Penalties: UAB 74 for 702 yards – Opponents 68 for 595 yards
- Punt return average: Opponents 10.7 yards per attempt – UAB 4.6 yards