2010 UAB Preview - Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - UAB Blazer Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: What do you do if you lose your two
best players and your only two all-stars from a year
ago? You rebuild as quickly as possible. UAB begins
a new era without do-it-all QB Joe Webb and
four-year starting C Jake Seitz. In their place is
expected to be David Isabelle and Darion Smith,
respectively, who have limited experience between
them. Isabelle, assuming he holds off Bryan Ellis,
does share a lot of Webb’s qualities, such as a
knack for beating defenses with his feet. Whoever
gets the nod will have a decent supporting cast that
includes a mix of backs, a veteran line, and one of
the best receiving corps in Conference USA. If the
Blazers have any hopes of approaching last year’s
output, they’ll have to leverage the talent and size
advantage provided by TE Jeffery Anderson and
receivers Frantrell Forrest, Nick Adams, Roddell
Carter, and Mario Wright.
Star of the offense: Senior WR Frantrell Forrest
Passing: David Isabelle
6-14, 39 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: David Isabelle
32 carries, 288 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Frantrell Forrest
34 catches, 558 yds, 9 TDs
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore QB
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RT Chris Hubbard
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Jeffery Anderson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Forrest, 2) Junior LT Matt
McCants, 3) Anderson
Strength of the offense: Receivers and tight ends,
athleticism at quarterback, veteran line
Weakness of the offense: Inexperience at quarterback, center
Projected Starter: Joe Webb is gone. A moment of
silence in Birmingham, please. The Blazers have the
unenviable task of replacing the greatest player in
school history and a multi-dimensional force, who
ranked in the top 10 nationally in rushing and
passing efficiency. Good luck filling those shoes.
Though he’s getting a challenge, the favorite is
6-3, 185-pound sophomore David Isabelle.
He’s not Webb, but he does share a lot of similar
qualities, such as the athleticism to hurt defenses
with his feet. He’s also ahead of Webb as a passer
at similar stages of their careers and had the
luxury of learning behind him the last two seasons.
As the backup, he only went 6-of-14 for 39 yards and
a touchdown, but was second on the team in rushing
with 288 yards and a score on just 32 carries.
Projected Top Reserves: Refusing to go away is 6-2,
205-pound junior Bryan Ellis, who
was close enough in the spring to make this a
competition in the summer. More of the pocket passer
in this equation, he has the more accurate arm, but
has limited experience and, unlike Isabelle, can’t
break down defenses with his scrambling ability
outside the pocket.
Watch Out For …Isabelle to be the guy when Florida Atlantic visits
Sept. 4. No, it’s not a foregone conclusion and Neil
Callaway likes to foster competition, but Isabelle
has been groomed for this moment and offers the
greatest upside among the quarterbacks.
Strength: Athleticism. Even in a post-Webb world, UAB has a dual-threat
at its disposal this season. Isabelle already proved
in short spurts last year that he can make things
happen when he breaks containment and takes off. He
provides a certain degree of continuity of style
that’s going to be appreciated by the linemen and
the rest of the offense.
Weakness: A proven passer. It took years before Webb became consistent
in the passing game, but with his graduation goes
the threat through the air. While it’s not as if
Isabelle or Ellis can’t get there, but it’s going to
take time and neither has any experience running an
offense at this level.
Outlook: UAB knew this day would eventually come and have prepared
accordingly. Still, there’s no easy way to address
the loss of a player of Webb’s caliber. He accounted
for 73% of the offense in 2009, keeping the Blazers
competitive most weeks. Ideally, Isabelle can cast
aside any doubts in the summer, preventing a
quarterback controversy that bleeds into September.
He has plenty of talent, but needs to sharpen his
passing skills as quickly as possible.
Unit Rating: 5
Projected Starters: Well, after being virtually
unused a year ago, the UAB running backs will be
well-rested and poised for larger roles. If the
spring is any indication, 5-9, 180-pound junior
Pat Shed was not signed out of East
Mississippi Community College to watch from the
sidelines. The most exciting option among the
runners, he showed big-play ability and soft hands
as a receiver. If the Blazers can get him in space
and get him about 20 touches a game, he could be one
of the team’s big surprises of 2010.
Projected Top Reserves: In a dead heat with Shed
following spring was 5-11, 215-pound senior
Justin Brooks. A completely different
runner, he’s a physical north-south type back, who
can work between the tackles and drag defenders in
short yardage. He also has the most experience in
the backfield, ranking fourth on the 2009 team and
taking 98 career carries for 429 yards and four
scores into his final year.
Fighting for what’s left of the carries will be
5-11, 205-pound senior Daniel Borne
. A former transfer from Jones County (Miss.) Junior
College, he contributed in his first season, rushing
50 times for 188 yards and a touchdown, and adding
seven receptions for 91 yards and another score.
Watch Out For …much more involvement from the backs now that QB Joe
Webb has graduated. Webb was a workhorse, logging
227 carries, but now that he’s a Minnesota Viking,
UAB will need to spread out the touches among Shed,
Brooks, and Borne.
Strength: Diversity. Shed provides the wiggle and the burst in the
open field. Brooks and Borne are no-nonsense
pluggers capable of moving a pile. Put the three
together, and UAB has a nice mix of options when it
keeps it on the ground or looks to involve the backs
in the passing game.
Weakness: A bona fide feature back. It’s a new year with the same
issue. The Blazers simply don’t know if they harbor
a back who can shoulder the load if needed because
no one on the roster has ever carried more than 11
times in a game at this level.
Outlook: Underutilized the last two seasons, it’ll be interesting to
see how the running backs respond to a greater role
in the offense. Even if athletic David Isabelle is
under center, the opportunity for carries will be
there. Shed was one of the spring stars, but needs
to continue making plays in the summer and fall.
Unit Rating: 4.5
Projected Starters: The bulk of the Blazer receiving
corps is back, comforting news for whoever gets the
ball at quarterback. Senior Frantrell
Forrest might finally be on the brink of
All-Conference-USA recognition after catching a
team-high 34 passes for 558 yards and nine
touchdowns. The program’s leading receiver over the
last three seasons, he combines a long, 6-2,
195-pound frame with the stride to get behind the
secondary. Still, he needs to work on his hands and
concentration, especially with a young hurler about
to become his battery mate.
At “X” receiver, 6-3, 220-pound senior
Roddell Carter is trying to hold off stiff
competition and maintain the starting assignment.
Three years removed from Georgia Military College,
he’s been a steady performer, but has yet to deliver
the production to match his impressive triangle
numbers. He’s yet to have more than 16 receptions in
Birmingham, pulling down 14 balls a year ago for 225
yards and a score.
One player who has to become more involved with the
offense is 6-2, 195-pound junior Nick Adams,
the starter at “Z” receiver. A potential long-ball
threat on the outside, he has one of the best blends
of good size and blazing speed on the roster. In his
debut out of Fort Scott (Kans.) Community College,
he flashed potential by turning just 15 catches into
277 yards and a touchdown.
Not to be forgotten among the pass-catchers is 6-3,
255-pound senior Jeffrey Anderson
, UAB’s oft-used tight end. One of the most
underrated players in the country at the position,
he was second on the team with 26 catches for 398
yards and five touchdowns, giving him nine career
scores on 64 receptions. With good hands and the
gait to stretch the seam, he could have a career in
Projected Top Reserves: At “X” receiver, 6-5,
210-pound senior Mario Wright is
basically 1A to Carter. The two are interchangeable
and both will get chances to make plays. While
physically imposing and a nightmare on jump balls,
he has steadily digressed in production since his
freshman season, making just eight receptions for 97
yards and a touchdown in 2009.
Behind Adams at “Z” is 6-1, 180-pound senior
Mike Jones, a seasoned veteran of three
letters with the program. Mostly used on special
teams, he’s a steady performer, bringing 31 career
receptions for 316 yards and a touchdown into his
final year of eligibility.
Watch Out For …Adams. With Forrest getting so much attention on one
side and Anderson commanding respect in the middle,
Adams is liable to capitalize on the extra space.
His speed, size, and elusiveness are certain to
catch the attention of the new quarterback.
Strength: Measurables. On size and speed alone, there aren’t many
defensive backfields in the conference that are
going to slow these guys down. From top to bottom,
all of the receivers are long, strong, and able to
get down the sidelines in an instant. If they can
ever hone the little things, UAB will have a
dynamite set of pass-catchers.
Weakness: Consistency. Sure, the receivers are all 6-2 and run like the
wind, but it matters little if they continue to drop
passes and run questionable routes. Collectively,
these guys have to polish up their act and give the
young quarterbacks better targets, bigger plays, and
Outlook: The potential is in place for the receivers to be the
strongest unit on either side of the ball for UAB.
Forrest and Anderson have all-star ceilings at wide
receiver and tight end, respectively, and their
supporting cast is brimming with athletic ability.
If they can develop chemistry with a new
quarterback, the sky is the limit in 2010.
Unit Rating: 6
Projected Starters: The bad news is that all-star and
four-year starting C Jake Seitz must be replaced.
The good news? Everyone else is back. The favorite
to take over in the middle is 6-2, 280-pound junior
Darion Smith, a transfer from
Copiah-Lincoln (Kans.) Junior College. He drew
praise from the staff in March and April, making
clean snaps and flashing the athletic ability to
keep the momentum going in the summer.
At left tackle, 6-7, 295-pound junior Matt
McCants is headed toward becoming the
program’s best all-around blocker and a serious
contender for more than just honorable mention
all-conference honors. Ideally built to protect the
quarterback’s backside, he has the long arms and
good feet needed to seal off some of the league’s
faster edge rushers. If he continues to work at his
craft, he could be attracting scouts to Birmingham
Holding down the right tackle opening is expected to
be 6-4, 270-pound sophomore Chris Hubbard
, who’s used a terrific offseason to move into this
position. A strong and agile blocker, he lettered in
his first season and has continued to add weight and
muscle. While still not ideally sized, he
compensates by playing with ideal leverage, effort,
At left guard, 6-3, 300-pound junior Greg
Calhoun has made the move from tackle and
risen to the top of the depth chart. He’s entering
his third season as a starter, which has
dramatically helped his technique, and is one of the
strongest players on the line, especially when
driving straight ahead on running downs.
Rounding out the front wall at right guard is 6-3,
290-pound junior Caleb Thomas , a
returning starter with the versatility to also spell
Smith at center if needed. He has good feet and is
quick to the second level, getting out of his stance
in a hurry and creating daylight for the running
Projected Top Reserves: Once considered a safe bet to
land a starting assignment, 6-3, 295-pound
Terence Edge is being forced to break a
sweat just to remain on the two-deep. After sitting
out 2009 to focus on academics, the two-year starter
is now backing up Hubbard at right tackle. Probably
better suited to play guard, he has tremendous
strength and surprising agility, but just needs to
pay attention to the small details.
Caddying for Calhoun at left guard will be 6-4,
300-pound senior Greg Bulls, a
two-time letterman and pleasant surprise since
transferring from Blinn (Tex.) College. An ideal
player to have on the second unit, he’s a steady and
reliable blocker, with considerable starting
experience with the Blazers.
Watch Out For …the performance of Smith at center. He’s not going to be
Seitz, but he has to be competent, especially when
getting the ball back to the quarterback cleanly.
With the rest of the line in pretty good shape,
Smith could hold the key to just how well the unit
performs in 2010.
Strength: The tackles. With McCants on the left side and Hubbard on the
right, the Blazers have a pair of outstanding
athletes, whose best football is clearly ahead of
them. Light on their feet and quick out of their
stance, they’ll excel at keeping the periphery of
the pocket clean.
Weakness: Center. Although Smith might go on to surprise a lot of
people in his first season, the drop-off from Seitz
is inevitable. More than just a talented blocker, he
was the heady line leader and the quarterback of
this group. Naturally, he’ll be missed on a
multitude of different levels.
Outlook: UAB has planned this position well over the last few seasons.
After using a slew of underclassmen in the early
going, the Blazers now have quality depth through
the two-deep and a couple of potential all-stars in
the starting lineup. If the new center isn’t an
issue, this can quietly be one of the better
blocking units in Conference USA.
Unit Rating: 5
- 2010 UAB Preview |
- 2010 UAB Defense |
UAB Depth Chart
- UAB Previews 2009 |