2010 UAB Preview
UAB WR Frantrell Forrest
UAB WR Frantrell Forrest
Posted Aug 6, 2010

CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - UAB Blazers

UAB Blazers

Preview 2010 

By Richard Cirminiello

- 2010 UAB Preview | 2010 UAB Offense
- 2010 UAB Defense | 2010 UAB Depth Chart
- UAB Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

Head coach: Neil Callaway
4th year: 11-25
Returning Lettermen
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.
2010 Schedule

Sept. 2 Florida Atlantic
Sept. 11 at SMU
Sept. 18 Troy
Sept. 25 at Tennessee
Oct. 6 at UCF
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

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?

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 Vikings.

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 rotation.

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 ago.

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 50% (9-18)

- 2010 UAB Preview | 2010 UAB Offense
- 2010 UAB Defense | 2010 UAB Depth Chart
- UAB Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006