2010 UAB Preview
UAB WR Frantrell Forrest
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - UAB Blazers
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UAB has made steady progress under Neil Callaway,
winning two, four, and five games in his three
seasons. Does that trend stop now that the best
player in school history is in the NFL?
Head coach: Neil Callaway
4th year: 11-25
Off. 22, Def. 29, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 18
Ten Best UAB Players
1. DE Bryant Turner, Sr.
2. WR Frantrell Forrest, Sr.
3. TE Jeffery Anderson, Sr.
4. NT Elliott Henigan, Jr.
5. FS Hiram Atwater, Sr.
6. LT Matt McCants, Jr.
7. CB Terrell Springs, Jr.
8. LB Lamanski Ware, Jr.
9. DT D.J. Reese, Sr.
10. S Chase Daniel, Jr.
Sept. 2 Florida Atlantic
Sept. 11 at SMU
Sept. 18 Troy
Sept. 25 at Tennessee
Oct. 6 at UCF
Oct. 9 OPEN DATE
Oct. 16 UTEP
Oct. 23 at Miss State
Oct. 30 at Southern Miss
Nov. 6 Marshall
Nov. 11 East Carolina
Nov. 20 Memphis
Nov. 27 at Rice
The Blazers are facing a bit of crossroads season in
2010. On one hand, the program is trending in the
right direction and welcoming back a ton of starters
and lettermen. On the other, it needs to prove it
can survive without dual-threat QB Joe Webb, who
accounted for nearly three-quarters of the offense
and was the heart and soul of this school. UAB’s
mission is to prove that last year’s growth wasn’t
all about No. 5, now a member of the Minnesota
It’s a good thing Callaway and his staff have spent
three years diligently building up and coaching up
the talent pool, with plenty of help from the
junior-college ranks. By Conference USA standards,
UAB is in surprisingly good shape on both lines, and
the skill position players have an exciting mix of
size and speed. Who, however, fills those massive
shoes of Webb?
Though not quite anointed as the heir apparent,
sophomore David Isabelle has been groomed for this
moment since graduating from Johnson (Ala.) High
School. Assuming he can hold off Bryan Ellis in the
summer, he possesses a lot of the qualities that
made Webb so special in Birmingham. He has good
size, tremendous athletic ability, and might
actually be ahead of his predecessor as a passer at
similar stages of their careers. While he’s proven
little, the ingredients for success are in place.
If UAB is truly on the right path under Callaway’s
direction, this year would be a good time to show
it. With most everyone expecting a retreat now that
Webb has graduated, pulling a fast one on the rest
of the conference would send an unmistakable signal
that this program is still blazing a northerly path.
What to watch for on offense: The tackles. Yeah, it’s not as
sexy a topic as, say, those enormous Blazer
receivers, but the program is quietly developing two
of the better young pass protectors in the league.
On the left side, junior Matt McCants is a 6-7,
295-pounder on the brink of a spot on the
All-Conference-USA team. Over on the right,
sophomore Chris Hubbard is coming off a terrific
offseason that solidified his spot in the lineup.
While only 6-4 and 270 pounds, he has the footwork
and athleticism to excel in his second season in the
What to watch for on Defense: The development of the pass
rush. By its usual standard, UAB is loaded up front
this season, but looking deep on paper just isn’t
going to cut it. It’s imperative for the entire
defense, specifically the secondary, that the
Blazers get more of a push than in recent years,
disrupting the rhythm of the quarterback. With seven
upperclassmen dotting the two-deep, led by DE Bryant
Turner and NT Elliott Henigan, they should be able
to deliver for a change.
The team will be far better if … the secondary can make more
stops. When UAB has struggled the most in recent
years, the pass defense was being riddled on a
weekly basis. While no one expects an about-face,
they have to get off the mat after allowing more
yards a game than any other school in the country.
Over the last five games of 2009, they gave up 15
touchdown passes, yet still won three shootouts.
However, with a new quarterback calling signals, the
Blazers may not be as fortunate this fall.
The Schedule: The Blazers don’t have a bad non-conference
slate to deal with, getting Florida Atlantic and
Troy at home to offset SEC road games at Tennessee
and Mississippi State, but they have to win both of
them. Missing Houston and Tulsa from the West is a
major plus, but going to SMU to open the Conference
USA season won’t be easy. There’s a very, very nice
three game home stretch in November with divisional
games against Marshall, East Carolina and Memphis
before closing up with Rice. Basically, any team
with any talent blows through this slate.
Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Frantrell Forrest. After
playing in the shadow of Webb for years, Forrest
should be ready to break out and earn all-star
recognition. Although he’s still searching for a
higher level of consistency, the physical gifts and
three-year production have been indisputable. A 6-2,
195-pound glider, he ranks in the top five all-time
at UAB in receptions, yards, and touchdowns,
catching a Blazer-best 34 passes for 558 yards and
nine touchdowns in 2009.
Best Defensive Player: Senior DE Bryant Turner. After three
seasons of experience in Birmingham, Turner has
evolved into one of Conference USA’s better pure
pass rushers. A fundamentally-sound 6-2,
265-pounder, he uses his leverage to get underneath
the pads of tackles and drive them back toward the
pocket. In what many around the program hope was a
stepping stone to even bigger things, he produced 23
tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and six sacks a year
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB David
Isabelle. The coaching staff isn’t expecting an
exact replica of Webb, but even a modest facsimile
would be nice. The point is that UAB needs some kind
of a catalyst behind center to compensate for a sub
par running game and a flimsy defense. It’ll be
incumbent upon Isabelle to make things happen with
his arm and legs, and get as many of the Blazer
playmakers involved in the offense as possible.
The season will be a success if ... UAB shows no decline from
last season. While many are anticipating a retreat
back to the days of two or three-win seasons, it’s
imperative for the Blazers to weather the storm and
remain a viable threat on a week-to-week basis.
Ideally, they win at least five games for a second
straight year and are in contention for bowl
eligibility in the season’s final leg in November.
Key game: Sept. 11. at SMU. We’ll learn a lot about the 2010
team, especially the defense, in this first road
trip of the year to Dallas. The Mustangs are one of
the hot teams in Conference USA, sporting an offense
that’s just beginning to percolate under June Jones.
If UAB can be competitive for all 60 minutes, or
even deliver the upset, it could be the propulsion
the program needs to carry it to .500.
2009 Fun Stats:
- Passing first downs: UAB 99 – Opponents 163
- Average yards per rush: UAB 6.0 – Opponents 4.2
- Fourth down conversions: UAB 0% (0-10) - Opponents
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